|Kindergartners and 1st graders from Mrs. Peters' class pose with their drums donated by Remo and World Music Drumming|
This past summer I attended three World Music Drumming workshops while making my way back to Juneau. They included Drumming Up the Fun for 3 - 8 year old children, Kids Choir and Drums and Level 2 Drumming. All of the workshops gave me skills, strategies and lesson ideas to meaningfully integrate drumming into the music and school curriculum.
I use a strategy, I term "Levels." Each time the class accomplishes a skill, we move on to the next skill level. The important note here is that they must still maintain all of the previous skills mastered. In one 40-minute kindergarten class, the students reached Level 12!
Here's the process:
- Level 1: Strong standing position (hands are initially behind their backs so they aren't tempted to hit the drums at random)
- Level 2: Echoing the lyrics to a song (you first need to know how to sing the song before you can accompany it on the drums)
- Level 3: Enunciating the lyrics (aka "Vegetable Mouth" - "words are much more exciting when you say them like crunchy vegetables in your mouth")
- Level 4: Smiling while saying the lyrics
- Level 5: Mouthing the words while teacher sings
- Level 6: Singing the lyrics
- Level 7: Sitting at the drum: edge of seat, flat feet, straight back and hands on your knees
- Level 8: Clapping the last note of my drum rhythm (which signals stop) while I chant it
- Level 9: Clapping the last note of my drum rhythm while I play it on the drum
- Level 10: Placing that last note of my drum rhythm as a low tone on the middle of the drumming and "freezing."
- Level 11: Practicing steady beat (not easy for these little guys!)
- Level 12: Playing your own rhythms, but stopping together on the drum signal