Although many count it as an easy ‘A’ class, drumming gives its students a thorough understanding of percussion and rhythm. “It’s fascinating to hear what moves people,” said Patrick Maier, who teaches the drumming class as well as choir and guitar.
The class is currently experimenting with a stitched-together beat, with a unique part by every drummer.
Senior Arthur Cuenca, a beginner in the drumming class, explained, “right now, we are learning about the congas, all sorts of hand drums… we don’t just create beats, we also follow beats.”
At the start of every class, drummers spread into a circle to warm up with some standard beats. “We play djembes and congas,” says Maier, “Djembes hail from Africa, and congas from Cuba. We are playing mostly African grooves, but we are moving into Latin-influenced beats.”
Depending on the day, the class often has time to work on unique beats using online software.
“We learn about the piano sometimes, and other types of percussion,” said Cuenca, “We also make our own beats with GarageBand.”
The class uses various types of software to test different rhythms, including Logic Pro, launchpad, and GarageBand.
Unlike other music classes at M-A, drumming does not put on its own concert. However, students from drumming provide a beat at events such as Cabaret night and the winter and spring choir concerts for certain songs. This allows drummers to get onstage, but without being the center of attention.
Drumming counts for fine art credit, which may surprise some, as it is not traditionally offered at most schools. “It’s only different in the way our culture views drumming. It is complex and simple at the same time, so participants can find levels to acclimate and grow. Technique is [as] important as is it in all other artistic disciplines,” said Maier.
The class involves an element of rituals and myths, adding background to the beats.
Maier explained that “the elective was dormant for a number of years, and has been revived just last academic year. There is no Drumming II, but if students want to continue, there are additional techniques and grooves to embellish.”
This class registration season, look no further than the music room. “The class is a great way to engage your body, mind, and spirit, and [it] can give you a greater understanding of rhythm and its cultural impact,” said Maier.
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