Happy New Year! Enrollment has started for the Adult/Continuing Education African Drumming course at New England Conservatory in Boston. Open to all adults, this is an introduction to the dance-drumming and vocal music of the Ewe people of Ghana in which students learn to perform this indigenous music in an ensemble setting. In addition, the course will give teachers the tools they need, both musical and practical, to bring African drumming into their classrooms.
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ThisWorldMusic/UMass Ghana student Tara Schwitzman — a k a Ms. S — raised money on DonorsChoose.org for her all-girls 5th grade drumming ensemble in North Philly.
I posted on November 13 about Philly Public Schools teacher and Ghana tripper extraordinaire Tara Schwitzman’s project to raise money on DonorsChoose.org for an all girls 5th grade African drumming ensemble at her school in North Philly. With donations coming in from around the country (including the Dublin Coffman Marching Band in Dublin, OH) her project was fully funded in a matter of weeks. Go Tara!
“It is incredible…how much this music and dancing is bringing them together,” she says. “Seeing an all girls, fifth grade class come together with respect, and work together to achieve a common goal makes all the difficulties of teaching in this setting worth it.”
“Last year I was thrown into [a school] in…North Philadelphia, as an emergency certified teacher without any resources or education background,” recalls Tara. “I struggled for months, trying to figure out how to reach my students, who have faced more turmoil in their 10 years of living than I will ever know.” READ MORE →
Got back earlier tonight from teaching Agbekor to my African Drumming class at Westfield State UNIVERSITY (all Massachusetts State Colleges were recently given the status upgrade, to much fanfare) and was feeling nostalgic for this terrific clip of my 2009 UMass group performing Agbekor at the Dagbe Cultural Centre in the village of Kopeyia, Ghana. All that’s missing is dope T shirts!
I’ll break down each of the ensemble parts and how they fit together in the forthcoming series of ThisWorldMusic instructional webisodes, but for now, enjoy: