When planning for the year ahead, there is always someone (or many people) tasked with choosing a school incursion. Schools get many offers from performers and so it is important that teachers know what to expect from the production. Certain criteria have to be met. As an educational institution, you have a responsibility to the students and parents, to provide a sound education. Schools should not have a live performance without knowing exactly what to expect. So what does one look for when choosing a school incursion?
What to Consider When Choosing a School Incursion
- First of all, is the show age appropriate? Consider what age range will be present. Will it be entertaining for everybody? The audience also needs to identify with the performers and the content.
- Will the students understand what it is about? The content needs to be suitable and at the right level to benefit all age groups.
- What will the students learn from the experience? Will it provide an extension to what is currently being studied at school? In what way will it enhance learning?
- In what way can the students engage with the performance? Is it geared towards a passive audience rather than being a hands-on performance? Is there some sort of interaction or involvement with the students? Will there be chaos if students are bored and not absorbed in the show?
- Is it possible to preview the show in some way, in order to know what to expect? Maybe a video? If not, is there another teacher who has had the show that you could talk to? At the very minimum, there should be plenty of reviews you could read.
- Finally, students learn more when they are interested in the subject matter. They learn more when they can interact and be a part of the learning experience. Often a change of focus away from the classroom can make a huge difference but will the performance provide a resource that teachers cannot readily provide in the classroom?
What About African Drumming?
As a class music teacher, it is always great to have a guest to come and inspire not only the children but you yourself. Children love a hands-on experience so what better way to achieve this than through African Drumming. It is the ideal opportunity not only to learn how to play djembes but to also learn about African culture and various instruments used in tribal dancing and the African way of life.
At African Beat, we care about students learning a growth mindset (Carol Dweck) and so, in our shows, we teach them to love learning, get out of their comfort zone and have an appreciation for all cultures/individuals.
Preparing for an African Drumming Incursion
If children have some prior knowledge of what they are going to see they may certainly gain more from a show of this nature. So what can we do to prepare them for the experience? The class music lessons leading up to the show should be about the history of West Africa in particular and the importance of music in daily life. Children may more observant and eager to try out some of the instruments for themselves if they had already studied the types of instruments found in the region and how they are played. A discussion of the different techniques used to play the drum and how sounds can be manipulated would make them more receptive to the concert. The practical knowledge gained from participating in a live show of this nature will reinforce the knowledge gleaned from what was learned in the classroom.
African Beat has a Teachers Resource Kit available for purchase along with one of their school shows. At just $70 + GST, this resource includes all of the above and more.
Why Choose African Drumming?
The fact that there are so many instruments available for a large group of people is a great advantage. It will make the hands-on experience possible. It will not be passive participation but an active one.
What are some of the elements of music that can be introduced in the show or workshop?
- Some of the most obvious are how to play soft and loud.
- The idea of antiphonal music and the ability to respond as a group with the correct rhythm and dynamics.
- How to create atmosphere and tension.
- How to introduce ‘words’ just by drumming.
- Combining music with dance.
- How to express emotion through music and so on. The list is endless.
How do the students learn about other cultures?
The performers of the workshop come dressed in traditional costume and have stories about their traditions and culture. The students are able to ask questions and interact with the performers. This is an experience that cannot be achieved in the classroom.
So, when choosing a school incursion, consider African Beat… Find out more about our school incursions.