Joining the circle in a bold kente robe on that first blustery night, Andy beat his djembe drum hypnotically as weary guests ate their meals. Low-key chatter stopped as, one by one, educators nodded and tapped their feet to Andy’s compelling rhythm. “Join me,” he urged, pointing to a buffet of West African drums and shakers on vibrant scarves on the floor. Within moments, amidst self-conscious laughs, 30 budding musicians were playing a common beat. “We are all connected,” assured Andy. “No matter where we come from or what languages we speak, the human heartbeat links us all. Can you feel your heart beating? We are playing that rhythm right now, and we are one.” Over time, whether tracking the silence that follows the awesome reverberations of a giant Asian gong, picturing soaring eagles conveyed by a haunting Native-American flute or embracing the soothing rush of seeds skittering through a Brazilian rain stick, guests discovered that music uplifts and touches us all. As they played Andy’s instruments and lost themselves in the rhythm and flow of sound, our guests sighed deeply, smiled warmly and confirmed that winter Wednesday nights were the ideal time to jam. On the last night, participants left with three gifts: a certificate affirming 10 hours of professional training, a 20-page book with teaching tips, multi-cultural tales and lesson plans, plus a gourd, which Andy had grown and hollowed out, ready to be transformed into a shaker to launch our educators on their new musical paths.
Workshop through Jumpstart orchestrated by Susie Schub, email:email@example.com