Today I'm excited to present at The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Below is my handout and my slide presentation in case you are interested.
Click on the link below to download the handout.
1. Drum Circle Spirit by Arthur Hull
I mentioned Drum Circle Spirit in my last post about improving your drumming skills since it approaches rhythm from a compelling viewpoint: somebody who wants to include all students in music making whatever the cost. This is not a technical read and is the easiest one on the list.
Hull describes drumming activities that have comfortable learning curves for both the teacher and the student. The drum circle facilitation skills, such as cueing, are immediately adaptable to all sorts of group drumming whether it’s bucket drumming, hand drums, or even barred instruments. But the most notable content are the stories about creating inclusive environments for students of all ages, abilities, and interests. That is something that all K-12 music teachers can benefit from.
2. Syncopation by Ted Reed
Syncopation is a classic drum text that contains almost no directions. Instead it serves as an encyclopedia of rhythms. Starting with quarter notes and eighth notes and progressing through all sorts of rests, syncopations, and triplets, this book can serve as a rhythmic ‘gut check’ for teachers who want to improve their sense of rhythmic feeling (see #3 below).
Take the time to turn on a metronome and play through the rhythms until they feel comfortable and really start to groove. That experience would no doubt improve your rhythm teaching come this fall. Another similar text is Louis Bellson’s Modern Reading Text in 4/4 for All Instruments.
3. A Sound Approach to Teaching Instrumentalists (2nd Ed.) by Stanley Schleuter
o book better describes how to teach students to play instruments. Chapter 4 alone, “Teaching Rhythmic Feeling,” is well worth picking up a copy.
In just a few short pages, Schleuter describes what initial reading content to include, how to build a rhythm pattern vocabulary in students, rhythm pattern teaching techniques and more.
But the most notable take away is his definition and description of rhythmic feeling. This is Schleuter’s term which succinctly describes all of the cognitive and physical skills that are involved with the comprehension and performance of rhythm. The blending of the practical and theoretical had cemented this book as the foundation of how I teach rhythm.
Summer has finally arrived. Here in Minnesota, that means we are guaranteed at least 3 weeks of sunshine before it starts to snow again.
If you are like me, during the school year you mentally keep a list of things you want to incorporate or improve in your teaching. Kind of a “music teaching related things I want to do but don’t have time to focus on because the school year is so crazy, so I’ll optimistically plan to do them this summer” type of list. And if you teach K-12 general music, you invariably teach drumming of some sort during the year, so maybe you want to be a better drum teacher to your students come this fall.
I’m good at making the list, but I’m less good at following through with all the goals on it during the summer. If getting more comfortable with percussion is one of your goals this summer, I’m here to help. Here are 5 free resources to improve your comfort level with drumming.
1. Play this. Get a pair of sticks, something to hit (a drum, phone book, pillow, mouse pad) and play along with this video.
When you are bored with that one, move on to these:
Goal: Make your hands work better when playing with sticks. This will help you identify poor technique in your students and help to diagnose when technique is interfering with rhythm and vice versa.
I'm David Birrow. I teach and play percussion. This blog is a companion to The Bucket Book. Contact me at : David@TheBucketBook.com or learn more about me at: www.DavidBirrow.com
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