Dallas Academy's Department of Music and Performing Arts was thrilled to welcome professional percussionist, David Cox of Rhythm Path, to campus on Friday, October 13th for their Day of Drumming event. Mr. Cox brought over 100 different drums from all over the world for students to use to create rhythm and music. The presentation was a part of Dallas Academy's Guest Concert Series for Cultural Enrichment.
Dallas Academy’s Guest Concert Series for Cultural Enrichment aims to bring live performances to the entire school community. Molly Grogan, a board certified music therapist and Dallas Academy’s Director of Music and Performing Arts, created the enrichment program as a platform for guest artists to come to campus to perform as well as to educate student on their art form. Ms. Grogan created the series to provide students a rare up-close and personal experience with a variety of arts mediums and performers. Recent concerts have included performances by professional jazz musicians, singer-songwriters, world-class marionettes, university a cappella groups, and chamber orchestras.
On Friday, Dallas Academy students were invited into age-level sessions throughout the day where they learned about percussion. Each student was given an authentic handmade djaembe drum from West Africa to use throughout the workshop. Students learned traditional rhythms and songs and worked together as a team to create music. Mr. Cox shared interesting facts about how the drums were made from goat and lizard skins, and how each drum is not only individualized with symbolic designs, but also how each drum has its own unique “voice.” Mr. Cox used call and response techniques to engage the students in good listening skills. Students learned to recognize form and the organization of patterns, playing loud and soft, and using different parts of the drum head to command a range of sounds. Mr. Cox used the non-verbal communication of hand signals to conduct our student musicians in dynamic rhythmical patterns. Students learned that disorganized sound is noise but drums, when played together in a meaningful and organized way, creates music.
Rhythm Path’s Day of Drumming program was a great success as was evident from the look of enthusiasm on the faces of every student. Everyone was so proud of the beautiful music that was created and shared by students, teachers, and staff alike. The Guest Concert Series is always a success however the Day of Drumming was especially special because students were provided the opportunity to become a part of the music and presentation. Dallas Academy looks forward to hosting many more performances in the future.