About me

I am a teacher-librarian and educational writer living and working in Baku, Azerbaijan. Here are some of the professional books I have written about librarianship and inquiry-based learning.

I am really interested in Azerbaijani culture, especially the music. I am learning to play muğam on the kamancha and I enjoy singing xalq mahnısı. I have two wonderful music teachers. Mina teaches me the kamancha. The method so far is just playing each phrase or cümlə after she plays it. You learn each muğam in this way, cümlə by cümlə. It is a fascinating way to learn music. I studied piano and music theory as a child in the Classical way, always using notes. I certainly prefer this method. However, learning the kamancha has inspired me to go back to playing piano after 30 years. It is great fun. My piano teacher is Nigar. She also gives me vocal lessons. These two wonderful teachers are giving me so much joy in my life! I would encourage any foreigner living in Baku to take advantage of the wonderful musical culture and the high quality of musical education available for adults and children. 

Thus, a large part of my desire to learn Azerbaijani is that I want to understand the lyrics of the folk songs and mughams. However, it is hard to progress beyond shopping language in Azerbaijan because there are so few opportunities for extended conversation with locals. Thus, after a certain level, improving your language is challenging. I have not been able to find an intermediate level class (in the evenings or week-ends), so this is frustrating. The CCF will run a course if there are enough - five? - students interested. If you are at an intermediate level and would like to form a class, please let me know. Otherwise, any suggestions or strategies for advancing to real fluency would be appreciated. 

You can write me at colleen.macdonell at gmail.com or colleen.macdonell at facebook.com.