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Book Review: 3 for 1

by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

Here are three books in the Community Partnerships library (located on the 3rd floor) that you could use to teach drumming to groups or individuals.  They all assume that you have no background or training in percussion so you should not feel intimidated to give them a try.


World Music Drumming: A Cross Cultural Curriculum by Will Schmid

By far the most popular classroom method for teaching hand drumming, this book is centered around ensemble pieces with accompanying lesson plans.  Each ensemble piece has multiple drum and percussion parts and most include melodies that can be sung or played on instruments. The strength of the book is the step by step lesson plans which can save you prep time.  The pieces work for grades 4 and up, and feature a variety of pan-African music. Will Schmid runs a series of summer workshops around the country in non-western drumming.





West African Drum & Dance: A Yankadi-Macrou Celebration by Ryan Camera and Kalani

This is the text to use if you want to teach African drumming but have no background.  The book teaches two styles of West African music in depth and includes drumming, dancing, singing and xylophone parts. The lesson plans contain an ambitious amount of material for one class period, but are easy broken up into smaller segments.  The DVD and CD that accompany the book are very helpful and demonstrate all the parts as well as hand drumming technique. The strength of the book is the cultural authenticity and commitment to presenting the material with integrity.






Arabic Tambourine: A Comprehensive Course in Techniques and Performance for the Tambourine, Tar, and Mazhar by Mary Ellen Donald

This book is hard to find so it is great that we have a copy at MacPhail and don't be intimidated by the extensive title. Frame drums are the most common drums found in K-8 settings and usually just one tone is played. But the frame drum has an extremely rich and ancient musical history. This book teaches you how to get multiple tones out of a frame drum and the traditional rhythms that can played. Check out this video of Glen Velez if you don't believe me (ignore the 80's VHS quality).  You could even pair some of these rhythms with the melodies found in another CP Library book: Musica Arabia: Arabic Folk Songs for Orff Instruments by Alice Olsen.


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