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Dancing Drum News & Updates

Rhythmatize It! Drumming & Arts Integration

"Arts Integration" is a big movement in education these days, pushed to the forefront by great organizations like Turnaround Arts and The Kennedy Center. Fundamentally, the idea with arts integration is to utilize instruction in the arts - music, dance, theater, visual art - to connect with core academic subjects like language arts, math, and science. This approach has shown to be effective for many students, who can learn and explore core subjects more creatively, rather than learning by rote or more traditional forms of instruction. In effect, music (or visual art, or dance, or theatre) is the "hook" that gets kids engaged and more interested in succeeding at school.

Here at Dancing Drum, we've been focusing for many years on how to integrate core academics into our drumming programs. When we began Dancing Drum in California in 2002, virtually all music education had been cut from public schools. In effect, administrations had deemed music too unimportant for time or funding during the school day. This was a sad situation for many students. We felt that we needed core academic integration to justify our presence in the schools and developed curriculum materials to make connections between drumming and subjects like math, reading, social studies, and character education. Teachers, administrators, and students embraced our approach and we felt that it was a success!

Today, the idea of arts integration has gained more traction, as has the value of music education. More educators are talking about the value of music for music's sake, not just for the arts integration opportunities that it provides. There's also a robust and growing field of arts integration, with conferences and specialists devoted to sharing ideas and best practices, and research that shows its efficacy.

Earlier this summer, Dancing Drum was honored by an invitation to present at the Turnaround Arts Summer Institute at the Arlie Center in Virginia, a sprawling, historic farm and retreat center just a few miles from Washington DC. Our session, titled "Teach to the Beat! Enliven Classroom Instruction Through Rhythms & Chants", was attended by 30+ enthusiastic arts integration specialists from schools across the country, from Connecticut to Hawaii. During our hands-on session, we demonstrated the basics of leading drumming activities in the classroom, and led participants in their first experience of "rhythmatizing" a nonfiction text. This workshop focused on language arts, reading comprehension, and summarizing themes in an article about British scientist Jane Goodall, which we then turned into a rhythm and song on the drums. 

"Turnaround" schools are among the lowest performing schools in the country. Schools that adopt the "Turnaround Arts" model for school improvement are committed to bettering their schools through an intense regimen of arts integration. In the first three years of Turnaround Arts, they've produced impressive outcomes, like a 22.55% improvement in math proficiency and a 12.62% improvement in reading. Discipline and attendance statistics have also improved significantly, and it's inevitable that the energy at these schools has overwhelmingly shifted towards positive, uplifting, and happy, which couldn't be better for students and their learning outcomes.

Turnaround Arts Summer Institute 2015

Turnaround Arts Summer Institute

For more information on Turnaround Arts and their evaluation report, visit this link:



Grand Opening Celebration of the Broadmoor Arts & Wellness Center, New Orleans, LA

Saturday, August 1st, 1:00-3:00pm - Join us as we celebrate the grand opening of a sparkling, new resource for the New Orleans community! Special guests will be on-hand for the ribbon cutting, and attendees can learn about all of the great classes and resources offered through the new facility, which include drumming classes for kids and adults, yoga, dance, counselling and conflict resolution, birthing classes, art classes, quilting, and more! As part of the day's events, Dancing Drum will host a special interactive drumming session for all ages! Drums provided. RSVP here:

A different way to visualize rhythm

In standard notation, rhythm is indicated on a musical bar line. But there are other ways to visualize rhythm that can be more intuitive. In this TED Talk, John Varney describes the ‘wheel method’ of tracing rhythm and uses it to take us on a musical journey around the world.

What do you think? Is the "wheel method" something that you can apply in your music classroom?

Dancing Drum Success Stories

We've heard some great feedback from music teachers about the successes that they've had using Dancing Drum materials in their classes. Have you used "Drumming Up Character" or "Drumming Up World Music" with your students? Do you have any success stories that you would like to share with the world? How have you implemented Dancing Drum in your school? How did your students react? Do you have "at risk" students or students with behavioral issues who exceeded all expectations during their Dancing Drum sessions? We would be happy to hear about your experiences! Please feel free to share them below.

Why so many kids can't sit still in school today, via Washington Post

Many educators agree that children aren't wired to sit still in class for hours each day. They need movement and play to develop their motor skills and actively engage in learning. We believe that focused, daily drumming sessions can help many students by providing a structured outlet for their abundant energy, and the energetic release of active drumming makes way for better attention during classroom STEM instruction time. What do you think? Can on-task drumming sessions improve a student's focus during academic study time? #wapo #washingtonpost
September 15, 2014

reviews ›

We need your help!

Our website has a new "Customer Reviews" feature. Can you help us with a review or two? Have you used any Dancing Drum materials - drum or books - in your classroom or elsewhere? Do you have some information or opinions that you can contribute that will help others with their purchase? Please visit our products page at this link:
Select any item, scroll down to the lower half of the page, and click on "Write a Review". Thanks for your help! We truly value your feedback.

New School Year News & Updates

Excitement is building for the new school year, and like many of you, we’re busy wrapping up summer projects while planning for the fall. Here’s a quick update to fill you in on Dancing Drum's news and plans for 2014-15:

First off, we’re happy to announce our NEW WEBSITE, which was just posted yesterday, at this link:
It’s still under construction and a bit rough around the edges, but the big stuff is there and ready for browsing. Please take a look and let us know what you think! The new site is much more user friendly, and we look forward to keeping our friends updated through our new blog and Instagram accounts.

Secondly, we just posted a bunch of new tour dates for the 2014-15 school year at this link:
If you’re interested booking an interactive drumming assembly, workshop-to-performance, residency program, or professional development for your school, simply respond to this email with your interest and we’ll send you our 2014-15 School Programs PDF which includes information on our current programs and rates. If you’re interested in a Dancing Drum program and your geographical area is not listed, just send us a message with some info about what you have in mind and we’ll see what we can do!

We have a new shipment of the Dancing Drum BoomBa Series arriving in mid-September, which will include a plentiful supply of each BoomBa instrument for your music classroom. Here’s a link with more info:
We are accepting orders now for delivery by the end of September.

All other Dancing Drum materials are in stock and ready for delivery in August! Contact us for an estimate for djembes, djun-djuns, percussion Tubz, bells, drum stands, curriculum books, drum packages, and anything else you need for your music classroom.
We are in the office and ready to assist with all of your drumming and percussion requests!

As a friend of Dancing Drum, you’ll be the first to know when our newest publication, titled “Jump in the Rhythm”, becomes available this September. Here’s a teaser with some additional info about what we’ve been working on:
We can’t wait to get this new book finished and into your hands!

Here’s a review that we received from a teacher in California. He says:
“Dancing Drum’s program creates a community of respect, it exposes them to other cultures and connects them to their own culture, it is active and fun, and there is immediate success. The drumming sounds fantastic. All of the students feel successful and relate to the beat. Music is so important to this age group, and it is an excellent bridge for cross-curriculum writing and math. Socially, it creates teamwork and is an excellent release of emotion that is often held inside.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

May 10, 2014

Welcome to our new and improved website!

Browse away and let us know what you think!