Dr. Bob presents workshop at Percussive Arts Society International Convention

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Dr. Bob

Dr Bob will present a workshop entitled “African Drumming in Drum Circles” on November 9th at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, IN.  The intersection of traditional West African drumming and drum circles has been a research interest for him for many years (see his cover story in the July issue of Percussive Notes).  Although there is a clear distinction between African drum ensembles which learn a repertoire of traditional dance rhythms of West Africa and a drum circle which plays primarily freestyle in-the-moment music, there are times when it might be valuable to share African drumming concepts in a drum circle.  A number of social principles in African music correspond to philosophical concepts of community drum circles such as the idea that communal participation affirms togetherness.  There are also certain elements of African music such as hand clapping, time line, polyrhythm, and lead drum narratives that might easily be integrated into the drum circle.  Certainly, drum circles typically include the drums, bells, and rattles associated with West African drum ensembles.  Given that there has always been a connection between drum circles and African drumming and that the social principles in African music correspond with philosophical concepts of drum circles, the purpose of this session is to share a sample of strategies for integrating African drumming into drum circles.  Dr. Bob serves as an active member of the Percussive Arts Society’s Interactive Drumming Committee which promotes drum circles for their musical and extra-music benefits.  This committee meets annually at the national conference.  Dr. Bob teaches a drum circle class for the First-Year Experience students at MSU, has published four articles about drum circles, and facilitates drum circles for recreational/educational events throughout Mississippi.  For a second time, Dr. Bob will serve as a co-facilitator for the PASIC Rhythm Discovery Day.  His session this year is called “Interactive Rhythm Games and Fun Percussion Ensemble Compositions.”

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