Drumming Helps Students Grasp the Power of Teamwork in the Music Classroom

Steve Campbell presents a session at NAfME's 2013 National In-Service Conference
Steve Campbell presented a Dancing Drum session at NAfME’s 2013 National In-Service Conference and will return to the conference in October.


Steve Campbell of Dancing Drum presented one of the most popular sessions at the 2013 NAfME National In-Service Conference in Nashville last October. He agreed to add a second presentation last year because of an overflow of attendees at his session “Drumming Up World Music: West African Rhythms and Songs.”

He returns to Nashville for the 2014 NAfME National In-Service Conference, with a new presentation, “Drumbeat for Success: Teaching Good Character Through Rhythm, Song and Dance”. Campbell’s session is one spotlight example of the more than 100 sessions in 11 interest areas featured at the upcoming In-Service Conference.

Campbell discusses his career in music education and why the NAfME In-Serivce Conference and his particular session this October are ones you won’t want to miss:

“I had the pleasure of presenting my session “Drumming Up World Music: West African Rhythms and Songs” at the 2013 NAfME In-Service Conference. This session explored the rich musical traditions of West Africa through drum and xylophone arrangements designed for use in K-8 music classrooms.

“I brought a large array of drums and percussion instruments for attendees to get a hands-on experience of playing the music and learn effective methods of how to teach the material to students at different grade levels. The session room was fully packed and I was very excited to see so many music teachers eager to use drum and percussion music in their classrooms.”   

“The 2013 NAfME In-Service Conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with music teachers from all over the country and I am looking forward to returning this year.”

We could not agree more!

NAfME’s upcoming conference is intended to fuel your passion and increase the volume of your music teaching knowledge! Conference attendees will gain knowledge and practical experience from sessions and networking opportunities. All attendees will learn new skills and techniques that they can use immediately upon returning to the classroom. Sessions from 11 different “interest areas” or categories will be highlighted at our upcoming conference, including: BandChoralCollegiateCompositionGeneral InterestGeneral MusicGuitarIn-OvationsJazzMusic Program LeaderOrchestral

NAfME Members at Steve Campbell’s interactive session, 2013 In-Service Conference. Nashville, TN


Steve Campbell’s October 2014 Session

“At the 2014 NAfME In-Service Conference, I will be presenting the session “Drumbeat for Success: Teaching Good Character Through Rhythm, Song and Dance.” Based on Dancing Drum’s “Drumming Up Character” curriculum, this session will show how music teachers can add a character education component to their music program.

“With hip drum rhythms, character rap songs and fun dance routines, students learn important character lessons about respect, responsibility and self-control in an accessible, interactive and engaging format they can easily relate to. I invite you to attend this session and learn several exciting character arrangements you can use with your students and work across the curriculum to help your school bolster its character education program.

“Many people ask how I decided to teach drumming in music education. Well, my interest in drumming started at a very young age. I grew up in a musical household and when music was being played live or on the stereo, I would jam along with whatever I could find like wooden spoons and metal pans. Eventually I got my own drums and percussion instruments and played all through high school and college. 

“During my student teaching to complete my education degree, I experimented using drums as a social tool for groups of students to work together in a cooperative music experience. I witnessed students from different social circles and all levels of music experience create new friendships, boost their self-esteem and realize how they can produce amazing music together in a matter of minutes.  Regardless of how I varied the groups of students I drummed with, the response was amazingly positive and inspiring to see.

“Through this process, I discovered that drumming was not only a wonderful music experience, it also opened doors for students to learn more about each other and grasp the power of teamwork in the music classroom.

“Inspired by these experiences, I sought to develop a program that would enable me to not only work with students at one school, but in schools all over the country. In 2002, my wife, Lindsay Rust, and I started Dancing Drum and 12 years later, we have led interactive performances, artist-in-residencies, workshops and teacher trainings at hundreds of schools in over 20 states.


Bringing Out the Best in Students

“Together we have seen many hidden talents of students emerge after a drumming session to the thrill of their teachers and fellow classmates. Our methods for drumming address the standards of music education in an fun, engaging , accessible interactive experience that can inspire students to participate in the art of making music together. 

“Our current focus is to develop more cross-curricular content for teachers that will enhance efforts to connect the music classroom with other subject areas like reading, social studies, PE, history, math, and visual art.


I encourage you to attend the 2014 NAfME In-Service Conference from October 26-29! Join in the interactive drumming fun at my session and all of the amazing sessions, performances and events that will be there for you to enjoy. 

“I look forward to meeting you in Nashville!” 

Steve Campbell, Dancing Drum

Additional  information about Dancing Drum, its programs, instruments, and curriculum for schools. 


Kristen Rencher, Social Media and Online Community Engagement Coordinator. © National Association for M usic Education (NAfME.org)