NAfME Conference Presenter Steve Campbell: Drumming Helps Students Grasp the Power of Teamwork in the Music Classroom


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Steve Campbell presented at tte 2013 NAfME National In-Service Conferencce


Steve Campbell of the Dancing Drum presented one of the most popular sessions at the 2013 NAfME National In-Service in Nashville last October. He agreed to add a second presentation last year because of an overflow of  attendees”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 discusses his career in music education and why NAfME Conference attendees should attend his session in October:

“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.  

“In fact, my session was so popular I was asked to offer a repeat session for many music teachers who missed the original session. 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.


My October 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

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“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.

We look forward to the opportunity to visit more schools in the years ahead! For more information about Dancing Drum, programs, instruments, curriculum for schools and our Summer Teacher Training Intensive on June 20th in New Orleans, go to:


“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