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World Music Drumming . . . builds Better Focus

Imagine a circle that fosters respect for all ages and abilities playing together! Imagine a circle of musicians playing the same rhythm in perfect unison then dividing into an incredible groove. Imagine them stopping to listen as one drummer improvises then coming in together with the original rhythms.

This is what happens in a World Music Drumming (WMD) class. Repertoire is based on music from Ghana in a curriculum written by Will Schmid, along with other fun sources from the music education world.

I've studied two weeks with WMD trainer James Mader and spent a week with Kalani Das, who specializes in community drum circles. I've taught these pieces in middle school but also used some of them as young as second grade. They are fun, engaging pieces that really develop musicianship through listening and playing.

I'm eager to bring this experience to families and youth in Carroll, Iowa, beginning in January 2024 at the First United Methodist Church on Adams Street.

We need between 6 and 20 players age 10 through adult (although younger children are welcome with a family unit). Check here for details.

Another wonderful side-effect of drumming is an increase in focus. Attention in the brain is based on rhythm: how the connections between the hemispheres work and how the pre-frontal cortex (the executive organizer of the brain) communicates with the back parts of the brain.

Building rhythm skills improves physical coordination, too, and better coordination makes life easier. Sports skills are easier, learning is faster, and confidence is boosted. Drumming uses movement and listening to let the brain integrate all the moving parts through an enjoyable experience.

All this works with rhythm—and rhythm begins in the body.

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