Posts Tagged African Drumming

From Africa to Chicago: A Children’s Game Teaches Music

Children's rock passing game Africa

Educators learning a traditional children’s rock passing game in the village of Kopeyia, Ghana.

“Holo holo holo holo, gbe sia, bne nono…” The voices of my second grade general music students sing in Ewe as the students hold the garden rocks, tracing circles on the floor. “Ala, sariki babu. Ala sariki babu.” Each student excitedly picks up his or her rock and, moving to the beat, passes the rock to the student to his or her right as they sing the phrase “Ala sariki babu” over and over. While students eagerly wait for the student next to them to pass the rock, one student inevitably ends up with multiple rocks, laughter ensues and the game starts again! This is a learning opportunity to practice singing skills, reinforce steady beat, learn about tempo, and introduce music of world cultures. READ MORE

ZUMIX African Drumming Ensemble Rocks Fenway Park

ZUMIX African Drumming Ensemble performs at Fenway Park

Dressed in traditional African garb, the ZUMIX African Drumming Ensemble performs ‘Gahu,’ a style of music from Ghana, for the crowd gathered at Fenway Park.

Had a blast performing with the ZUMIX Youth African Drumming Ensemble at Fenway Park this past Saturday. We were invited by Northeastern University to perform as part of their annual Family Day.

ZUMIX’s unique approach to youth development is evident in its Mission: Empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. With kids like these, is it any wonder that ZUMIX won a 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House? READ MORE

Study in Africa Photo Blog: Ghana Winter 2012

Boba drum playing in Kopeyia, Ghana

Miles Arntzen (left) plays the boba drum accompanied by his instructor, Elike.

Over the years, one of the things I’ve loved most about leading the ThisWorldMusic/UMass Amherst Study in Africa program is getting to know the participants. Sure, studying African music and dance is a thrill, but it’s the people, not just the rhythms, that stick with me long after I’ve returned.

On the most recent winter study abroad trip in Ghana, West Africa, we had a seminary student from Indianapolis, Brent Walsh, who, as luck would have it, turned out to be a professional photographer. And who studies abroad in a place as visually stunning as Ghana without bringing along a camera?

Here are 5 highlights from Brent’s inspiring photos, each representing a different aspect of what it’s like to study in Africa. READ MORE

ZUMIX African Drumming Ensemble: Winter Showcase Performance

Had a great time performing with my student African Drumming ensembles last week at ZUMIX, the community music school in inner city East Boston where I started the African Drumming program in 2007. ZUMIX has grown a lot since then, recently winning the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House.

Check out these three videos, the first featuring the ZUMIX beginning African Drumming Ensemble performing an adapted version of Gahu, a recreational style of music from the Ewe people of Ghana, West Africa:

And here’s the ZUMIX intermediate African Drumming Ensemble performing Atsiagbekor (a k a Agbekor), an Ewe war piece: READ MORE

African Drumming Study Abroad Participant Featured in Baltimore Sun

African drumming classroom

Students learn African Drumming from Baltimore County music teacher Diane Schaming, who studied music and dance in Ghana, West Africa, this past summer through ThisWorldMusic and UMass Amherst.

From today’s Baltimore Sun:

With 600 students, including a significant percentage of immigrants, music teacher Diane Schaming wanted to try something new to interest the children in the music of different cultures. So last summer she went to Africa and brought back music to Baltimore County’s Shady Spring Elementary School that now vibrates through every molecule of her classroom trailer.

 Read the full article.

African Drum and Dance Study Abroad in Ghana – Winter Term

Hard to believe fall is already upon us. With winter close behind, I’m looking forward to warming up in Ghana this January!

Our latest trip offering, the Winter Drum and Dance Field Study in Ghana, West Africa (January 2-14, 2012), is the perfect way to learn West African music and dance while getting to see the world. Check out the video below, then go to the online application on the UMass International Programs Office website. There’s also more info here.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Arranging African Drumming and Singing

Students on the ThisWorldMusic/UMass Ghana study abroad program learning traditional Ewe songs.

The following is adapted from “Developing an African Drumming Program for Your Music Classroom,” created by ThisWorldMusic in partnership with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the second in a series of three installments on arranging for an African drumming ensemble: 1) Arranging for Classroom vs. Stage; 2) Arranging Drumming with Singing and; 3) Arranging for Performance.

2. Arranging Drumming with Singing
One of the biggest challenges in arranging drumming with singing is the tendency for the drum ensemble to drown out the singers, especially the lead, or “call,” which is typically sung by an individual or small subgroup. READ MORE

Arranging African Drumming for Classroom and Stage

The following is adapted from “Developing an African Drumming Program for Your Music Classroom,” created by ThisWorldMusic in partnership with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the first in a series of three installments on arranging for an African drumming ensemble: 1) Arranging for Classroom vs. Stage; 2) Arranging Drumming with Singing and; 3) Arranging for Performance.

1. Arranging for Classroom vs. Stage
For teaching polyphonic drum ensemble music in a classroom setting, a “mixed chorus” type of instrument distribution scheme is ideal. READ MORE

Concert Review: Wayne Shorter Quartet at Berklee Performance Center

Wayne Shorter at Berklee Performance Center

Although I count Wayne Shorter among my all-time musical heroes, I admit I haven’t kept current with his recent output—and by “recent” I mean pretty much anything post-Weather Report.  Which is why when I arrived at Berklee Performance Center on a frigid Boston night last month, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, aside from a month of subsisting on top ramen after being TicketMastered to the tune of $60.

Being unburdened by expectations turned out to be a good thing. The set they played was not really a set at all, but rather, as John Garelick noted in his review in The Boston Phoenix, a “concert-long group improvisation.” And while it was breathtakingly beautiful at many points (and incredibly skillful throughout), I felt like READ MORE

Boston Symphony Orchestra Launches Academy School Initiative

With art and music on the chopping block in even well-to-do school districts like Belmont, MA, the prospects for school-based arts education look dim — that is, unless and until the arts finally take their rightful place at the table with the other core subjects.  In the meantime, the non-profit sector will fill in as best it can, and in the process hopefully produce best practices for teaching and learning that will help move the field of arts education forward.

I am thrilled that ThisWorldMusic is a part of one such effort.  Launched in 2010, The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Academy Initiative is a program that READ MORE

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