African Percussion Ensemble Performs at WPI Presidential Inauguration

Under the direction of ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen, the WPI African Percussion Ensemble performed at the closing of the inauguration of Dr. Laurie A. Leshin, a former top NASA administrator and the first female president of the world-renowned Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

U.S. Senator Edward M. Markey (D-Mass.) addressed the crowd of more 1,200, along with other luminaries including: Wanda Austin, President and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation; Craig Barrett, Retired Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation; and Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon University and Former Director of the National Science Foundation.

How To Fund Your Ghana Trip

Group performance in Kopeyia's Market Square.

Participants on ThisWorldMusic’s Summer Study in Ghana program performing with local artists in the village of Kopeyia in Ghana, Africa.

The summer months have always been a great time for teachers to explore their interests, learn more about the world and deepen their teaching practice. And there’s no better way to spend those two months of freedom than traveling the world.

Since travel costs can add up quickly, many teachers seek to get the most from their time abroad by participating in a program with a built-in educational component, ideally one that confers academic or professional credit.

For K-12 teachers looking for funding sources to attend ThisWorldMusic’s UMass-accredited Summer Study in Ghana program, or similar arts-based professional development programs, here is a partial list to help with your search:

Other possible funding sources:

Although ThisWorldMusic does not provide scholarships, we can work with program participants to create a customized tuition payment plan with low, interest-free monthly installments. To find out more, contact us.

Know of additional grants or other funding sources that are available to teachers for summer professional development programs abroad? Leave a comment or email us:


Spiced Fried Plantain Recipe: Kelewele (Ghana)

Plantains kelewele Ghana
Plantains are popular in Ghana as a snack or side dish. Though related to bananas, plantains are much starchier and far less sweet, and are therefore usually eaten cooked.

Plantains can be baked, boiled, fried, pounded or dried and milled into flour. Probably the most common preparation in Ghana is the seemingly ubiquitous fufu, a starch made from pounding plantain together with cassava or yam (not to be confused with sweet potato, which isn’t a true yam) that is served as an accompaniment to stews, soups and sauces.

Since pounding fufu is quite labor intensive, let’s learn to make kelewele, a delectable spiced fried plantain dish that is a popular snack in Ghana. Think sweet and hearty Ghanaian comfort food…with a kick! READ MORE

ThisWorldMusic Visits Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence College
ThisWorldMusic will be visiting Sarah Lawrence. Tentative schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, October 27 (12:30-1:30 p.m.): Information session at the Sarah Lawrence International Programs Office for students interested in ThisWorldMusic’s Study in Ghana program.
  • Tuesday, October 28 (1:00-3:00 p.m.): Come visit ThisWorldMusic’s table at the annual Sarah Lawrence Study Abroad Fair.


Brandeis Community Drumming Workshop

Brandeis Drumming Workshop
Join us on Monday, November 3rd from 7:30–9:00 p.m. at Brandeis University for an evening of drumming! In partnership with Brandeis Beats, the MUSIC+RHYTHM+COMMUNITY workshop is part of an ongoing series of community drum circles facilitated by ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen.

Free and open to the public. Read about past workshops.

For details on how to participate, contact Brandeis Beats President Aliza Gans:

African Drumming at Moravian College

Moravian College campus

Developing an African Drumming Program for Your Music Classroom
with Jeremy Cohen, Founder & Director of ThisWorldMusic

Date: Saturday, January 31, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Learn how to bring the joy and power of African drumming into your music classroom! This workshop explores precision drum, bell and rattle technique; recitation of onomatopoeic drum “vocables;” and the singing of traditional West African songs.

The various rhythms introduced range in difficulty, allowing you to differentiate instruction for your students. Classroom management issues and how to recruit, equip and schedule African drumming classes and ensembles in a K-12 setting are also discussed.

Open to Moravian students and Lehigh Valley K-12 teachers. For more info, email Dr. Joy Hirokawa:

Artists in Juvenile Justice Initiative Expands, Launches Annual Statewide Youth Showcase

Hip-hop drumming performance at Massachusetts State House

A student group led by ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen performed at the Massachusetts State House as part of the Department of Youth Services “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” showcase.

With the 2nd Annual Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” statewide showcase coming up on June 17th at UMass Boston, I thought I’d share some pictures from last year’s inaugural showcase.

First, a little background: In 2006 the Massachusetts-based non-profit Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) initiated Unlocking the Light, an arts integration and professional development program designed to aid teachers working in Massachusetts DYS juvenile detention facilities. READ MORE

Studying Dance in Africa with TWM and Saint Mary’s College

Ballet dancerStarting this January, students enrolled in LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) — the Bachelor of Arts degree program designed for current and former professional dancers at Saint Mary’s College of California — will have the opportunity to study traditional music and dance in the West African country of Ghana while receiving academic credit toward their degrees. This is thanks to a new collaboration with ThisWorldMusic®, a Massachusetts-based company that partners with educational institutions and arts organizations to offer innovative, hands-on cultural learning experiences, both in the U.S. and abroad. READ MORE

VH1 Reality Show Off Pitch Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

VH1 Reality Show <i>Off Pitch</i> Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

Our Ghana study abroad participants are always an eclectic bunch. As proof, look no further than program alum Eric Busse, currently starring in VH1’s new reality show Off Pitch, which chronicles the Grand River Singers (GRS) of La Crosse, Wisconsin. According to Founder and Artistic Director Rob Jones, GRS is the only all-adult, Glee-inspired community show choir in the U.S.

Check out the trailer:

Teaching Music in Urban Schools: One Educator’s Journey (Part II)

Today on the blog we are pleased to feature the second in a two-part guest post from Elizabeth Green, a music educator in New York City and participant on the summer 2012 ThisWorldMusic Study in Ghana program.

“You’re so lucky you teach music! The kids love music!”

So said a colleague one day as he dropped some students off for my Music Therapy class.

Me? Lucky? I’m lucky I remembered my turkey sandwich for lunch! Wait…they truly love music? Probably. Did they love my Music Class? Probably not.

I certainly make an effort to get them to love my class. I’m energetic. I make them laugh. I feel I can relate well to strugglers as well as smarty-pants in the classroom. Most of all, I love music and I love working with kids. READ MORE

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