While the benefits of drumming are wide-ranging, as teachers and parents when it comes to extracurricular activities we always have to consider the cost. We consider the benefits and whether or not it will be worthwhile. In terms of Drumming, unless you have studied music yourself, you perhaps do not appreciate what it actually entails to play an instrument and the impact it can have on a child’s development.
Drumming is accessible and portable. The costs incurred far outweigh the benefits in terms of a child’s development.
Benefits of drumming
Research has proven the importance of music education in the school curriculum. It helps with confidence, discipline and the ability to work as a team. Drumming also impacts on other subjects.
Let us consider what actually happens in a drumming workshop. Children learn how the djembe drum is made and its origins. They also learn about the culture and traditions of the people that play this wonderful African instrument. It could form part of a history lesson on the people and culture of Africa. Or a music lesson on percussion instruments.
Drumming teaches us about our bodies. While drumming we use our entire body, especially our fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders and legs. Playing the drum involves several techniques, which require coordination and concentration. It is not just a matter of tapping the drum with your hands. You need to know which hand to use and how to use it. You will either play with the tips of your fingers or the flat of your hand. On the rim of the drum or in the centre. Playing the drum involves the whole body. It increases the heart rate and blood flow and develops physical fitness.
Drumming develops listening skills, especially if you are playing as part of a group. Listening to the bass and tone of the drum and playing loud or soft, assists in auditory development. It is important to feel the beat and keep in time. In call-and-response activities, you will be required to memorise and copy the rhythm of the caller or perhaps create your own phrases. Playing the drum often involves language when it comes to singing and chanting. The rhythm of the words can help with learning the vocabulary of a foreign language.
First workshops are basic, depending on the age of the learner, they then become more rhythmically complex. Understanding how to subdivide the beats involves fractions and numeracy. This could easily be incorporated into a mathematics lesson.
The different elements of the drum (the wood, skin and the materials used) as well as the shape of the instrument, are built in such a way as to create vibration and sound. Someone who has had the experience of playing a drum will be far better equipped to understand the intricacies of frequency and how sound is produced when it is taught in a science lesson.
Children also gain a better understanding of the rhythms of their own bodies. The heart has its own steady rhythm needed to keep the body functioning properly and breathing often involves that rhythm, too!
Communication and Confidence
In a drumming workshop, we practice social skills. These include sharing and learning how to take turns as well as contributing to a group activity. Listening to others play develops communication skills and playing helps with fine and gross motor skills. Playing the drum also assists with many cognitive and emotional needs. It is also a way of channelling aggressive and impulsive outburst and can release body tension. It is a wonderful stress reliever and a means of improving confidence and self-esteem.
Drumming and dancing go hand in hand. When you imagine these, you think of the sheer joy it brings to the performers and the listeners. It is not only a performing art but a means of self-expression. With this comes self-confidence. Drumming is also therapeutic.
There is no denying that the benefits of drumming have an enormous and positive impact on a child’s development.
Learn more about African Beat’s drumming programs.