On teaching Americans to play mbira like Zimbabweans

  • Erica Azim Mbira


In teaching the 1,000-year old Shona mbira tradition of Zimbabwe, I have discovered that Western students have great difficulty in learning to hear mbira music in a Shona way. Though Western students are able to learn to play basic traditional parts, it often takes them years to master the more difficult cross-cultural aspects of the music, including the style of improvisation. Improvising in a Shona way is dependent upon hearing in a Shona way.
How to Cite
Azim, E. “On Teaching Americans to Play Mbira Like Zimbabweans”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 7, no. 4, Nov. 1999, pp. 175-80, doi:https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v7i4.2005.