Innovative and inclusive music and arts in Cumbria and NE

Come and experience playing our Gamelan

BlueJam is proud to be the custodian, with Heathlands in Carlisle and More Music in Morecambe of the Dwi Gambira Sari Gamelan Orchestra. Made by the late master Gamelan maker Pak Tentrem of Solo in Central Java and brought to the UK in Autumn 2010 we have the use of the Slendro half of the Orchestra, the Pelog half being at the Sage Gateshead.

We have made room in our Community Arts Space available to house this precious instrument safely and are able to share it with the community.

We have had pregnant women experiencing relief in a gong ‘sound bath’: families enjoying respite from lockdown in a shared, accessible activity; music students stimulated by a new music ethos and many people having fun with instruments that sound amazing and are easy to play.

Get in touch if you’d like to give a session as a present or birthday gift, book a workshop for your school or club, or join an ongoing community gamelan group.

Email Jilly at

A session will be led by an experienced instructor and your bubble will learn how to play this magnificent instrument and make some gorgeous music as well as creating some rather special memories together.

A Gamelan session is a great way to relax and be creative as a bubble. Playing the instrument itself is quite meditative and can help give you time to step away, process and reflect on the times we are currently living in. It’s also great fun!

This has been an incredible experience for our children! They have been allowed to explore a range of instruments – some they are familiar with, some not. And there has been no expectation made of them – just a freedom to play and indeed learn in an environment that inspires, delights and reassures. Sensitive and expert teaching and guidance showed an awareness of my children’s individual needs and preferences, of their anxieties and their areas of confidence. This is a space where joy unfolds new confidence and new discoveries and not just for the kids but for the whole family.

Parent - Gamelan Session, August 2020

You do not need to be musical to play the gamelan – there are really easy and more difficult parts so everyone can join in. If you can’t sit on the floor instruments can be put onto tables so you can sit on a chair to play. Our space is wheelchair accessible but sadly our old building has no disabled toilet.

(the videos on this page were recorded before Covid-19 and social distancing)


What does a Gamelan Session involve?

Gamelan session at BlueJam Arts

Posted by Blue Jam Arts on Tuesday, 19 March 2019
Information about the Gamelan Instruments

Some information about the Orchestra, how the instruments are grouped together, which mallets to use, and some simple traditional tunes to try out.

By Sarah Kekus.

BlueJam Arts Gamelan Session 17th Sept 20

A Gamelan Jam at BlueJam lasts for one hour. During the session you will:

  • Meet our Gamelan instructor by the front door. There is only one family/bubble allowed per session.
  • Once in our entrance hall the instructor will give you plastic visor masks to wear for the duration of the session and then everyone will wash their hands then sanitise them. You will be asked to sign a sheet confirming that you don’t have any symptoms of Covid-19. That is the last time Covid will be mentioned during the session! 
  • Your instructor will take you into the room with the Gamelan and teach you a bit about the instrument, it’s history and how to play it. 
  • Everyone will play the Gamelan! There will be exercises guided by the instructor and everyone will have an opportunity to play all of the instruments that they want, including the gongs. 
  • The session will end with a big improvisation where we all make the Gamelan sing together. You are welcome to record this on your phone so that you can listen back to it whenever you would like. At the end you can have your picture taken with the Gamelan too.
  • When the session is finished (there is about 45 minutes of playing time) the instructor will take you out to the entrance hall where you will take off your visors and wash then sanitise your hands again. We will ask you to clean the visor that you wore with an anti-bacterial wipe before handing them back.

There are no age restrictions on Gamelan Jam sessions – all are welcome.

Gamelan piece

Playing bonang and saron

Posted by Blue Jam Arts on Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Sounds amazing! How do we sign up?

Gamelan Sessions are available during daytimes, evenings and weekends depending on instructor availability. All you need to do to book a session is to e-mail us (admin with three options of dates/times that you would be free to have a Gamelan Session plus how many people are in your family group/bubble and we will go from there. Each session costs £40 per family group/bubble – this is to cover the instructors time and hire of the room. This should be paid online before the session (we will send you the link when we confirm your booking). Easy as pie! 

Looking forward to playing with you!