Tradition, a museum object?
Music’s role in education and human development

Prof. Dr. Luis De La Calle Aramburú, Research Team on Didactic of Arts and Movement (DAM), Faculty of Sciences of Education, University of Geneva


The lecture/flute performance deals with the didactic analysis of the teaching contents of the Andean traditional music and the ways of transmission from three workshops held in Chile and Switzerland in the first semester of the year 2013. These ways of transmission are compared with my experiences in learning musical traditions in three cultures: Noh teather from Japan, Vaisnava from India and the western classical music. We have constituted a corpus of research from observations of transmission practices (filmed and transcribed) and interviews conducted in parallel to these three workshops (quena, siku and tropa) led by three experts (the Chilean ethnomusicologist Francisco Valdivia and the Peruvian musicians Freddy and Sidgar). We have practiced a qualitative clinical type analysis. We describe the characteristic processes of this teaching and its aspects related to the processes of didactic transposition according to three types of knowledge:

  1. conceptual knowledge of cultural uses,
  2. the discourse on practices and
  3. the role of musical performance.


Short biography

Dr. De La Calle is a dual-national (Peruvian-Danish) and since the age of five, he performed the quena (the Andean flute) and siku (the Andean pan-flute) in auditoriums and theaters in Lima and on TV and radio shows. He was taught during 10 years that the original character of the quena, which is five thousand years old, is not to perfect a technique neither to provide entertainment but is “an opening where the soul gives the best of oneself; if the player doesn’t have a cultivated spirit, the result will be poor”. At the age of 14, the Ministry of Education of Peru and the Embassy of Germany in Lima awarded him as the most talented quena and siku performer of the country.

At age of 16, he went to Japan to study with the Noh Theater Master, Mr. Hideo Kanze who personally directed hundreds of Dr. De La Calle’s soloist concerts at prestigious auditoriums and theaters all over Japan and on TV and radio shows: Dr. De La Calle learned the Zen Buddhism philosophy that were incorporated into the ritualization of Japanese music by performing Japanese bamboo flutes (fue and shakuhachi). These form a meditation on the unity of the mind, the instrument, and the body. Because of his integrating both traditions (the Andean and the Noh), and because Dr. De La Calle released many of his solo albums worldwide (on Victor, JVC World Sounds, Sony Music and Columbia Records) and played hundreds of concerts throughout Japan (sponsored by Sony Music) and on TV and radio shows, the Ministry of Culture in Japan has considered him the world’s most talented performer on the quena and the siku.

In 1992, Dr. De La Calle went to India to study Vedic philosophy and Vaisnava music during seven years. The latter is an influential culture in the Indian musical tradition, where he studied with the Carnatic flute master Shashank Subramanyam. Dr. De La Calle gave many lectures and concerts on these fields at the universities in India and South America and was awarded in Brussels, Belgium, with the European Excellence Award for the Scientific Presentation of Vedic knowledge and Vaisnava music.

In 2000, Dr. De La Calle studied classical European and Jazz music on the transverse flute at the Music Academy in Copenhagen during three years, Denmark, where only one flute student per year was accepted after a rigorous entrance examination. Desiring to integrate the contributions of the four music traditions (Latin American, Japanese, Indian, and European cultures), Dr. De La Calle invented and patented a flute called the De La Calle Quena-Flute: the quena’s head joint (which is the same head joint as the Shakuhachi, Japanese bamboo flute) is connected to the key mechanism of the European transverse flute’s body in order to perform the scientific music forms from the Indian rhythms (talas) and scales (ragas). Dr. De La Calle went on to earn a bachelor degree as soloist and two master degrees (one in education and the other in the Sciences of Education) at Lund University in Sweden, which were based on the De La Calle Quena-Flute itself: He studied with Prof. Anders Ljungar-Chapelon during eight years at this university. This was the first time in history (recognized by Lund University) that a musician earned a university degree based on a musical invention by the inventor, while the inventor was still alive. As a performer and inventor on this instrument, flute associations in the USA, UK, Australia and Sweden have formally recognized Dr. De La Calle as one of the world’s most talented flutists for performing with this invented instrument by being invited in their gala concerts and in prestigious auditoriums, theaters and universities worldwide. For these accomplishments, the President of the Parliament of the Republic of Peru, the Mayor of the Municipality of Lima and other important Mayors from various Municipalities around the Peruvian capital recognized and awarded his achievements.

For seven years, Dr. De La Calle has been a member of the Research Team on the Didactics of Arts and Movement (DAM) at the Faculty of Sciences of Education at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He went to earn a Doctorate (Ph. D) degree in Sciences of Education at the University of Geneva and he holds an Honorary Doctorate awarded at the Parliament of Peru by the National University of Education of Peru. Several universities in different parts of the world recognized his doctoral thesis as the first doctoral research in the history of education investigating the music didactics of an ancient, ancestral culture.

Dr. De La Calle currently holds a position as the principal flute professor at the Music Faculty of the International School of Geneva in Switzerland. He is a Sony Music Recording Soloist Artist (flutist/composer) in Japan and the principal flutist in the Chataigneraie Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland.