As a way to enhance studies of music from around the world, Lamplighter hosted a series of drum assemblies for Kindergarten through fourth grade students on January 17. The School partnered with David Cox of Rhythm Path to coordinate grade-level drum circles to learn about and appreciate the art of African drumming. Rhythm Path, a local organization that facilitates group music events, brought 85 drums to Lamplighter so that all students could participate together with their classmates in the lessons. Each of the 85 drums was handmade with an ax and chisel, and contained customized designs.
During each of the assemblies, Cox led students in a variety of drumming exercises to learn unique patterns, rhythms, and drumming techniques. Cox shared his background with the students, explaining that he began drumming as a ten-year old, and later pursued a music business degree. During college he spent time in Africa taking workshops on this style of music and eventually started a West African drumming ensemble. During each drumming session at Lamplighter, Cox generated lots of energy and enthusiasm among the students, infusing the group music with lessons about African drumming. The lessons also included examples of other types of African drums including the djembe drum from Ghana and the tama, also known as the “talking drum,” from Senegal.
Music Teacher Mrs. Natalie Bittner noted, “We study music from around the world because it’s all different. The instruments are different; the rhythms are different; and it helps us broaden our understanding of other cultures.”