The elementary students have been working and learning how to play in the middle and side of the drum with different intensity and playing rhythmic patterns. To encourage and aid with creating drum beats, I played a CD of African drum beats. I had students listen for 10 seconds and then start playing along. After a minute of playing, I turned the music down and asked the students to keep playing. The students continued to play – some played steady beats, some played rhythmic patterns – depending on what they picked up on the recording.
After playing the drum to the music, I gave students the chance to trade their drum for a maraca. In all the classes, all but one or two student traded in their drum for a maraca. They were ready to try something new! I repeated the process of listening to the music and then playing along. With a few student and teachers playing drums and many students playing maracas, it added a different tones to the drum beats. After another minute of playing to the music, I turned down the music and we were left with lots of rhythmic shakers with some faint drumming.
Then I presented another choice: the option to trade their instrument to dance to the music created by the group and the CD recording. A majority of the students chose to dance, leaving the teachers and one or two other students to play the music with a combination of drums and maracas. The students danced on the blue rug in the middle of the room with the musicians on the outskirt.
The students had a full experience of playing the drum, maraca, and dancing to the music. They made decisions of what role they wanted to play in the experience and utilized their listening skills to immerse themselves in the music. Creative dancing emerged as a result of the unique music each class played together.