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Theorizing the LocalMusic, Practice, and Experience in South Asia and Beyond$
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Richard Wolf

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331370.001.0001

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Disciple and Preceptor/Performer in Kerala

Disciple and Preceptor/Performer in Kerala

(p.143) Chapter 8 Disciple and Preceptor/Performer in Kerala
Theorizing the Local

Rolf Groesbeck

Oxford University Press

Studies of pedagogical relationships in India have often focused on imitation and embodiment of the preceptor's knowledge; this chapter, however, discusses the centrality of peer-group immersion. With regards to Kathakaëi (dance-drama) centa (cylindrical stick drum) training at the Kerala Kalamandalam, a state arts institution, a two-stage learning model is proposed, in which students learn fixed compositions from a primary preceptor, then progress to advanced improvisational methods, absorbed through “legitimate peripheral participation” in a group rehearsal studio. In the latter arena, the role of the primary teacher is minimal, so that students acquire their skills largely from interaction with their peers. The chapter further suggests that indigenous perspectives on stylistic development in centa performance may be explained partly in terms of this importance of horizontal transmission.

Keywords:   Kathakaëi, pedagogy, centa, Kerala, Kalamandalam, preceptor, disciple, horizontal transmission

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