African Drumming for Grades 2-6
February 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm #20675
I am planning an African Drumming unit for Grades 2-6 for Mastery testing next month. I see these grade levels after lunch / testing each day and I want something to engage their tired brains and bodies. I have some questions for those who have taught such units before:
— Does it work if NOT every child in the class has a drum? I have over 20 kids in each class; there’s no way 1) I could afford drums 2) could store them all!! I have heard of people using donated buckets for this purpose. Has anyone done this with success? I’m thinking that I will have just a handful of djembes (borrowed, ideally) which kids will share. Those who do not have a drum will tap on their knees or do other body percussion.
— When you taught African drumming, did you include dances? I know that much of African music is echoed patterns and simple dance steps with clapping. I’d like to have kids do this, I just need some examples.
Thank you very much!!February 17, 2013 at 9:28 pm #20680
I’ve had success with every other child–I think if the kids know they’ll be “next” they are patient. Sit the kids in a circle and rotate frequently (maybe even set a timer). Buckets work great! I purchased mine from a hardware store…I mentioned that they were for the music program, and they gave me a reduced price.
If you search Funga Alafia or Sansa Kroma on youtube…you’ll see many examples of dances. Youtube has been a great resource for me learning new material.February 19, 2013 at 1:33 am #20688
Very rarely do I have an entire class have drums all at the same time. I will sometimes do one every three, but doing one every other is the best. I also will have the “waiters” become the teachers. They help the student get into the right position, make sure they are hitting in the right place on the drum and understand the rhythm. I give the students a chance to dialogue with each other and explore the instrument together without restraint (besides not “hurting” the instrument). Then when they hear the wind chimes (or triangle or whatever) they are to sit quietly and wait for the next direction. They love being teachers, but I do have to remind some of them about tone of voice. We don’t want to be bossy, nor do we want to have an “I can’t believe you don’t know this…” kind of voice because everyone is learning. I reward students for being kind and caring when sharing and teaching.
Good luck and have fun!February 19, 2013 at 9:44 am #20692
I have only 5 djembes and 5 tubanos that I purchased this year. I also use stackable buckets from Home Depot from around 2-3 dollars a piece. At the beginning of the year, I teach a poem with body percussion and then we take the body percussion to the buckets with rhythm sticks. Later in the year, we do a little drumming with the “fancy” drums. I have around 21-22 students in a class, so we do the cirlce method where after every third child plays their answer to my question (with other students echoing), we pass our drums to the next person clockwise. At first, it was kind of talkative during the passing and hard to get them back on task, but the next time we used the drums, I reminded about expectations and the fact that we’ll get to play more if they’re quiet during the passing time, and it was great. I’ve done this from 2nd-4th, and basically would ask them questions like, “what’s your name” that I would drum, and the students would drum back their name or their favorite food, subject, etc. Make sure that you discuss syllables with them first and give correct and incorrect examples. During the incorrect examples, I would have a student show or tell me the correct way to play instead. These beginning drum projects I found in Will Schmidt’s book “World Drumming”. My next step would be to have a set of simple quarter/eighth patterns on the board and have them choose one to drum, and finally have them create their own 4 beat pattern. I’m not sure how I would expand upon this currently, but I’m am taking my Orff Level 1 this summer so I hope to learn many different ways to use my instruments.
Happy to help!
ToniFebruary 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm #20835
Thank you all so much!! Toni, I just ordered “World Drumming” and “New Ensembles and Songs” by Will Schmidt.. Can’t wait to go through them! Re: simple quarter/ eighth patterns – that makes me realize that by just increasing the metronome speed simple patterns could be more difficult. Even better when you let a kid be the “leader” and the rest of the class echo. … hmm, now I’m getting ideas for my Early Elementary kids. 🙂 hierst453, great idea to have them drum question and answers – would never have thought of that. Phelpsa871, I’ve heard of Sansa Kroma but never taught it, surprisingly. That’s included in one of the drumming books.
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