Olmstead students learn about Rhythms around the World

Posted on February 8, 2021 9:13 PM

Olmstead primary and intermediate students get to participate in a drum circle beginning the week of Jan. 20, thanks to receiving an Arts for All Kentucky grant written by teacher Angela Sales-Dye. Arts for All is a non-profit organization in Kentucky that strives to allow inclusiveness and collaboration among all students. Matt Devore, owner of the Bowling Green Rock Band, will lead a drum circle for 15 weeks of the spring semester.

Throughout the semester the students will be learning about communities around the world. They begin by learning the basics of notes and their beats. They use this knowledge to use their bodies and tables to form a “drum,” allowing the students to see that they can see music around them.

Mr. Matt, as Devore is called by the students, pointed out the first day their heart keeps a rhythm for them all day long. Beginning in the third week of the program, they will begin learning about cultures around the world. They will get to experience many instruments used in that culture as well as how their music sounds. They will also be able to build their own instruments to use and take home at the end of the program.

Devore will teach two groups during the week. There will be a core group, which will receive instruction one morning every week, and a grade level group, which will rotate weekly. The students in the core group will become experts in the fundamentals and then transfer new skills to a peer setting when the students’ grade is rotated. The second group will be made up of students in grades K-5 students who will rotate with their classes. This group will participate in a drum circle at least two times throughout the semester. At the end of the program the students hope to record a performance to share with family and friends.

Principal Bonnie Watson has always encouraged teachers to give students as many opportunities outside the four walls of the classroom as possible. “I want students to have real world experiences, and we usually do this in part by taking very well planned field trips. With COVID, we have just not been able to do that this year, and it disappoints me for the children. We have to reach out and see how we can fill that void, and I appreciate Mrs. Dye for doing just that,” says Mrs. Watson. 

Kindergarten teacher Audrey Pendley feels this was an excellent experience for her students. “Mr. Matt did a phenomenal job with my students. Not only was he able to keep their attention and keep them engaged, he was also extremely patient and listened to each student as he or she shared an experience, story, or thought. It was entertaining and the best ‘field trip’ we’ve had all year!”

The students certainly enjoyed their first experience. The kindergarten group was hanging on every word as they learned to play a beat to a popular song. They were then able to show off their skill to a first grade class. When asked what she thought, Nora Meacham stated, “We stomped our feet and drummed on our knees! And went ‘shhhhhh’. It was really fun!”

The next week when Mr. Matt returned, the kids were ready to begin. “Mr. Matt is crazy fun. He made us count to 1 and 2 and 4. The beats were my favorite part,” said Mason Smith, a third grader.  Second grader Chasity Jolicoeur agreed, “It was fun, and I really enjoyed learning the music notes.”

The purpose of this grant is to encourage students to participate and connect with their peers, help with disruptive behavior and inattention, and help students gain confidence and have positive interactions within their community.  “This program will truly touch on all the branches of Logan County’s Profile for Success,” said Mrs. Dye. “We are looking forward to the rest of the semester."

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