Though each state has its own educational standards for the arts, there is actually quite a bit of overlap with the National Core Arts Standards (link). No matter the art discipline - Dance, Music, Theater or Visual Art - students should be engaged in one of the four fundamental processes identified there: Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting.
This blog post illustrates a few of the ways that ensemble drumming and Dancing Drum can actively address each of these focus areas.
CREATING Nothing says “I am!" more strongly than playing a drum. Playing together, students co-create music, rhythms, and an educational, social-emotional experience that differs from all other classes at school. In addition to participating in drumming as a class ensemble, students conceptualize their own rhythms and create them in live performance, using composing, patterning, language, sensory-motor and other developmental skills.
PRESENTING In a drum ensemble, each student is responsible for their part in the music. This requires focus and teamwork, as each student presents their best effort while contributing their rhythm. Students may also have roles in group leadership, improvisation, composition, practicing, performing, and teams, all of which call for developing presentation roles and abilities.
RESPONDING Drumming together fundamentally requires skills like listening and responding. Teaching tools that reinforce responding include activities like "Call & Response" (or echoing), rhythm “Sculpting", and leading unison and polyrhythmic arrangements in the classroom. Students who participate in drum ensembles also practice evaluating the group's performance and respond to their evaluations by making adjustments and improvements in technique.
CONNECTING Through drum ensemble, students connect via their shared experience of creating rhythm and music. The word “ensemble” translates to “together” in French. We “drum together” and feel more connected to our classmates and music from diverse places around the world. We learn about the many ways that rhythm is used in traditional and modern cultures. As we practice and play drums together, we experience the success of our teamwork, and we feel invigorated by the exciting act of playing drums!