Two different options exist for the workshops
i) drumming / singing / light percussion, concluding with performance
ii) drumming / dance, usually without performance
Drumming & Singing Workshops
Duration 60 mins, up to 90 children
The children are divided into a number of different groups, depending on their age and musical experience and the number of drums available. The normal format is of one group on drums, the second on the bell and shakers and the third on singing. The groups rotate, spending 15-17 minutes in each group before they come to drum, shake and sing together.
The Bell / Shakers
The most important instrument in traditional African music is the bell, which provides the heartbeat, keeping the entire collective pattern together. The bell is also supplemented by shakers which play the same pattern. The children are first shown how to hold the shaker and how to play it using the ‘out’ and ‘in’ movements. They are then briefly reminded of the timing pattern they learned during the performance and shown how they can remember the rhythm by counting it out before playing it. They then translate the spoken rhythm onto the shaker before they are shown how to play the shaker to keep the timing for the drummer. Volunteers are then welcomed to try to play the shaker with the drum, starting first with the teacher supporting, before trying to keep the timing on their own.
The children are reminded of the call and response patterns they learned during the performance as well as other simple chants and are shown how they fit together with the timing on the bell. The best singers in the group are chosen to lead the rest of the group in the call and response. Time permitting, each child is given the chance to take the lead.
The drumming begins with a short demonstration of the two different techniques to be used – the tone and the bass, which are played in repetition, first with one hand, then the other. The rhythm is then broken down into its component parts which the children are taught in turn. As each component is mastered, it is combined with the previous one until the children can play the rhythm repetitively. Finally, the drum rhythm is played together with the bell so that the children can see how the two patterns fit together. For older students, a second or third drum rhythm can be learnt, crossing that of the first. The children are taught how, by listening to the bell, the two (or three) rhythms can be played together.
Once each group has had a turn on the drum, the shaker and the singing, they are reunited to put a short collective presentation together. The bell and shakers begin, followed by the drums. Once the bells and drums are established, the singing and dancing can begin. The lead singer leads a collective chant while the drums, bells and shakers provide the rhythm. Finally, the rhythm ceases and a final chorus of singing ends with everybody taking it in turn to make the call, before the rest of the group then respond.
Drumming and Dancing Workshops
The drumming workshop with this option is much the same as above, except lasting longer (30mins instead of 15-20) and therefore enabling the children to learn more rhythms and learn how they go together.
The dance workshop teaches the traditional Kpanlogo dance the children will have seen during the morning’s performance. A series of traditional moves are performed to the drum, with the children taught to listen to the drum to guide their movement.
There are many ways of organising a school day, for different prices and different number of children. Please contact us for further information