‘Steve is excellent with the children (they are a difficult group!). He has such a wide variety of instruments and interesting things for them to do that their attention is taken up so their behaviour is better. During the sessions they join in enthusiastically, dancing and singing.’
Mrs Docherty, Park School, Kilmarnock
Drum circles are fun, interactive music sessions suitable for children of all ages and abilities. Everyone starts seated with their instruments in a circle where they can make eye contact and interact. A session may open with an energiser such as body percussion (rhythmic claps and taps on the body) and involve simple call & response songs. As a session develops, children are encouraged to play a wide variety of instruments ranging from large South American carnival drums and African djembes, through to small items of percussion. There can also be tuned percussion such as chimes, singing bowls and ‘Boomwhackers’. A session may conclude with a big crescendo, or gradually decrease to the point of a whisper, then silence. Other sessions include environmental Sound Awareness and Making Things to Play. Positive effects can include:
Personal & emotional benefits:
- improved health, fitness & wellbeing
- increased motivation & concentration
- development of cognitive & motor skills
- self confidence, listening & observing skills
- cooperation through collective understanding
- awareness of turn-taking & social etiquette
- improved communication – especially for those who struggle with verbal language
Supportive & Fun
The whole atmosphere is one of fun and support where staff are encouraged to join in equally if they wish to. Although a session is structured, it’s facilitated rather than constantly led, enabling each young person to find their own means of being creative.
Every session is inclusive where each child is able to contribute on an equal level with others, regardless of ability or support needs. This is unlike a tuition class where rhythms may be hard to grasp. While the session is underway, each child is given individual attention that makes them feel valued. There is no pressure to play – this happens at the pace of each child. As no two sessions end up being quite the same, the mood of the group or individuals on the day is able to be taken into account and worked with.
Creative Learning & Personal Development
Sessions can show the underlying rhythms common to all forms of music. They can also incorporate children’s existing interests – such as combining digital music and beatboxing with ethnic instruments. Personal, emotional and social development can lead to an awareness of social etiquette such as turn taking and cause & effect. Sessions can encourage children to be more active through using movement with musical games.
If needed, sessions can be related to specific areas of the curriculum such as:
- numeracy & literacy
- spiritual, moral & social responsibility
- world music & cultural awareness
- ethnic diversity & the environment