My students in Far Rockaway, NY are very animated, energetic children who love to learn by doing. They absolutely love drums! In fact, when introducing "Classroom Percussion" Instruments, such as triangles, shakers, and guiros, students tend to view the small drums that I have within this collection as most desirable. Hence, there is competition sometimes for the same instrument!
Many of my Far Rockaway students, economically disadvantaged to begin with, were adversely affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Many were uprooted from their homes at least temporarily, but ultimately displayed a resilience and courage that is admirable.
I have seen my students become deeply affected by music that has a strong rhythmic beat; they want to move their bodies immediately!
In order to further my own skills and try something new, In July of 2018 I enrolled myself in a week-long, intensive World Music Drumming workshop. I wasn't sure what to expect: Many professional development venues prove to be dry or irrelevant to my teaching situation "in the trenches". Not so here.
As participants, we engaged in a variety of activities from African drumming and singing and dance to Caribbean drumming and dance as well as recorder playing.
This workshop was so incredibly rich with excellent teaching ideas to bring back to my school, I would characterize it as one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.
I observed something during this workshop: While drumming or dancing in time with my fellow workshop participants, I experienced a feeling of "Simpatico". Something about the synchronized movements seemed to engender a feeling of bonding with my colleagues at the workshop! Could this be why singing, drumming and dancing is an essential part of the fabric of most societies? After experiencing this feeling for myself, it is, naturally, something that I want my students to experience.
I am requesting Tubano drums which are durable, easy to play, and have an authentic look, feel and sound. These drums are a key component of the ensembles that we used at the workshop. I hope to use these drums to build community through drumming and movement and have my students experience the joy of music and dance.
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