The Back ground to HGMP and Singapore Rondalla Instruments
The Heuristic Group Music Pedagogy (HGMP) is an integrated approach for teaching and learning tremolo music (the 3rd pillar in string music with bowed and plucked strings. Tremolo is obtained by using a plectrum in a rapid up-down movement on the strings). HGMP teaches how to train a Singapore Rondalla in a foco-unit (one to a part for five varieties of tremolo and a trio section of double bass, guitar and percussion). Performance is a fundamental objective right from the first lesson, and paced musical development for the individuals is a priority – achieved through creativity rather than prescription of training and performance materials.
HGMP draws from a milieu of musical experiences and pedagogical applications, beginning in the 1960s through individualized violin lessons with his first violin teacher, Mr. Lenardo Reyes at the Far Eastern Music School, and then with Maestro Alfonso Anthony as a private violin tutor. Violin training, based on the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Musuci (ABRASM) was essentially a conservatory-influenced pedagogy. It contrasted to a parallel activity, which was self-improvised with a small group of band-boys at St. Joseph’s Institution, led by Mr. Vincent Undasan, which led to the creation of the first school marching military band in Singapore. These boys used music pedagogy they innocently termed the buddy system (learning today and teaching tomorrow, peer to peer), which forced them to create the music exercises as well as the repertoire for the band. Most of the boys involved in this activity eventually became professional musicians. Dr. Peters had his first brunt with heurism with this school activity.
The next big “eye and ear opener” came in the 1970s while Dr. Peters was a graduate student at the University of the Philippines. Here he came across (totally by chance) the unique group pedagogy used by the late Professor Rodolfo De Leon to teach a class of rondalla students.