BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sept. 2, 2011) — African drum beats have typically proven difficult to record using traditional notation. After a year of study in the west African nation of Guinea, a Bemidji State University professor has a solution for preserving these rhythms.
Dr. Janice Haworth, associate professor of music at Bemidji State, will discuss her experiences teaching in Guinea as part of a Fulbright teaching grant during the university’s first Honors Council Lecture of the year. Her presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Thompson Recital Hall of Bemidji State’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.
Haworth spent last year in Guinea researching, teaching and learning to play the native djembe drum, with the goal of finding a way to preserve the rhythms and exchange them with other cultures. She sought to record the djembe beats using a special circular notation system called “Sik-lik” she invented with her brother, James. SikLik notation is based on a polygonal shape that fits the structure of a particular rhythm pattern, with colored dots of various sizes and shapes representing hits, accented notes and flams and drags of the rhythm patterns through a timing-encoded spacing. This focuses on the spatial relationship of various notes, rather than the duration of sound noted in traditional written music.
Haworth’s presentation will demonstrate the process of translating a drum rhythm to SikLik notation, and also provide opportunities for audience participation.
Haworth has been on the faculty at Bemidji State since 2000. She has taught the music education course sequence, music in the elementary classroom, introduction to music, fundamentals of music and world music, among others. She also is the former director of the Varsity Singers.
Before coming to Bemidji State, Haworth taught at the University of Central Arkansas from 1995-97 and at Georgia State University from 1997-2000.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education at Carson-Newman College, a master’s in choral conducting from the University of Tennessee and her doctorate in music education from the University of Florida.
Haworth’s 2010 Fulbright grant is one of five won by BSU faculty since 2000. Dr. Louise Jackson served as a guest lecturer at Comenius University in the Slovak Republic on a 2010 Fulbright grant as well. Dr. Kit Christianson won an award in 2009 to study politics in Norway, and BSU faculty won two Fulbrights in 2000-01- Jackson won a grant to study in Estonia and Dr. Patricia L. Rogers won a Fulbright to study education in Iceland.
The Honors Council Lecture Series is hosted by the Bemidji State University Honors Council. The council is the advisory group to the Honors Program comprised of 12 faculty members from all three of the University’s colleges. Student representatives also are elected to the council by their cohorts for one-year terms.
For more information about the Honors Council Lecture Series, please contact the honors program at (218) 755-3984.