Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 11: World Music Drumming

World Music Drumming!  What a way to start our spring semester of classes – filling the New England Conservatory halls with joyful rhythms and song.   In an earlier post I shared the news of a generous donation of drums and curriculum from Will Schmid and Remo Belli.  The 40-instrument World Drumming set arrived right before the holidays and the fellows were eager to break them in!   Will Schmid’s World Music Drum curriculum supported by Remo embraces many of the principles of El Sistema:  group ensemble, use of complex repertoire and folk music from the Americas and joyful music-making.

Whether adults or kids - drumming brings people together.  When I started a before-school drumming club at Glacier Valley Elementary School in Juneau, the sounds of the drums had a Pied Piper effect.  Children from the playground would gather around the music windows and teachers stopped at the door, all to witness the phenomenon of children completely absorbed in a drum circle.  Drumming is communal, inviting and accessible.  The same experience occurred here at NEC.  Once the fellows started drumming in the basement of Jordan Hall, students would stop and curiously peek through the classroom door windows.  Our drum circle quickly expanded to include different constituents from NEC - student, alum and Jordan Hall security guard - all brought together by the sheer joy of playing music together.

Music has that effect.  Rather than having to talk about the ideals of diversity, inclusiveness and cooperation; music allows a community to experience it.  Just imagine what it would be like if our schools and businesses began the day drumming together.

Thank you, Will Schmid and Remo Belli, for bringing your gift of music to NEC!  I am honored to share your music with the community of Boston and am looking forward to attending your World Music Drumming workshops this summer.   I took the Level I drumming workshop last summer in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and highly recommend it.  In my next posting, I'll share the out-reach drum workshops I gave in Boston and Los Angeles.

1 comment:

  1. One evening, while my Carlos was leading a drum Circle group with friends, which had been meeting monthly on Laguna's main Beach, a young African national came running down to our gathering on the beach from his apartment with the largest salad bowl he could find in his kitchen.
    After watching him beat on the salad bowl with enthusiasm for several minutes fellow drummers had compassion for him and came up with a real drum for him to play on. I am always amazed by the variety of people who will show up for a drum circle in California. You will meet everyone from the construction worker from Santa Ana to the surgeon from the ER at the University Hospital.