Dr. Robert Damm

Faculty & Staff




Jembe Den




  • Music Building 1340

Dr. Robert J. Damm is Professor of Music and Director of Music Education Partnerships at MSU. An active percussionist, his recitals have showcased many world music instruments such as African xylophones, berimbau musical bow, cajon, congas, djembe, darbuka, various frame drums, and steel drums. His programs have also featured diverse musical styles in which he played the marimba, vibraphone, timpani, multiple-percussion, and drum set. His freelance performing activity includes work with Big Joe Shelton and the Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors, Jesse Robinson and the Hip Waders, Blues Axis, and the Hep Cats Jazz Trio. He studied music and culture in Cuba, Ghana, and Mali. He published articles concerning the positive effects of drumming on children with autism, the jembe in Mali, Mississippi hill country fife and drum, the bamboula rhythm of New Orleans, the fanga rhythm and dance, classic rudimental snare drum repertoire, samba, and the udu (musical clay pot) of Nigeria. His current research is on drum circles as well as musical traditions of the African diaspora (i.e. Pinkster, Congo Square, and Junkanoo). He is a certified Orff-Schulwerk teacher and a Smithsonian Folkways certified teacher of world music. He directs Jembe Den, an African percussion ensemble comprised of his students, who play for cultural and educational programs throughout Mississippi. He is the coordinator for the Minor in Music and Culture which he developed for students with an interest in non-Western music, especially the music of Africa and the African Diaspora. The minor features an interdisciplinary approach to exploring music and supports MSU's vision of diversity and global involvement. He teaches courses in the Music and Culture curriculum including Music of Africa, Music of Latin America, African American Music, and Native American Music. He teaches a drum circle class for First-Year Experience students and facilitates drum circles for recreational/educational events throughout Mississippi. Dr. Bob’s teaching reflects his commitment to community engagement, best practices in interdisciplinary collaboration, experiential learning, and the African philosophy of human interconnectedness known as Ubuntu.

All-Steinway School