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Drumming Goes Global at Waxhaw Elementary

Kevin Brown of Rhythm House Drums shows students and staff the West African drums that he made for Waxhaw Elementary.

At Waxhaw Elementary students will be marching to the beat of many drums thanks to the support of the Union County Arts Council.  The Arts Council awarded a $1,000 grant to the school to support the purchase of West African drums as well as a drum workshop for students.

On Monday, February 21, 2011, Kevin Brown, of Rhythm House Drums, visited the students at Waxhaw Elementary to teach students the history of drum making and its importance in African culture.  As part of the presentation students had the opportunity to ask questions about the drums and to play some of the drums.  Students also participated by keeping a beat as Brown played several drums.  

Brown feels it is important to support drumming in the schools. “I always like to share what I know.  It is important to educate people and teach about this culture that has such an influence on today’s music,” said Brown.

Many of the drums used in the presentation were handmade by Brown.  Nine of the drums that he made will remain with the students at Waxhaw to be used as a part of the music curriculum.  The drums consist of ashiko drums and dunun drums.  These drums originated in West Africa and the music created with these drums is specific to countries such as Guinea and Mali.  The drums, made from gourds, trees, and animal skins, are used to tell stories and express feelings as their rhythms support the songs and dances of the culture.

Students were fascinated as Brown played his instruments and taught the students about drumming as an important part of West African culture.

Fifth grade student, Esmeralda Cruz shared her thoughts about Brown’s workshop, “I liked how he explained things and taught us how to do the drumming.”

First grade student, Adam Dobbins, was amazed with the different instruments, “I have never seen these kinds of drums.  Some of the drums are different and they are cool.”

Music teacher, Jeremy Ryder, will begin using the drums with students during music classes.  

“Thanks to the support of the Union County Arts Council we have authentic West African instruments that we can now use to recreate the rhythms of West Africa,” said Ryder.  
 

Written by: Cheryl L. Lawrence, Principal
Posted: Feb 25, 2011 by Kimberly Thomas

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