We spent five whole days last week at the Chapel en le Frith primary school. This is a lovely little town in Derbyshire, just on the outskirts of the Peak District, and we had a brilliant time working with the children. It was impressive to see how well they coped with the incredibly hot temperature (although the heatwave did serve to add a little African authenticity!)

Primary school students enjoying an Unbeatable Energy African drumming workshop - Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire

Primary school students enjoying an Unbeatable Energy African drumming workshop - Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire

providing a unique experience...

It’s great to do the 5 day events. This means we can provide a tailored workshop for each class, right from nursery all the way up to Year 6.

Catering to all these different classes is a big challenge. We’re not ones to re-use one rhythm template again and again for every workshop. We feel like this lacks any spontaneity, and it ignores the individual needs of each class. It makes much more sense to tailor each workshop to the age and ability of every group.

We had 17 different classes in total!

Providing a unique experience for all of them meant we needed to use our full portfolio of drumming games, African rhythms, chants, stories and songs.

We also wanted to be ‘in the moment,’ so we used the rhythm ideas that just popped up in each session. Sometimes this was acting on our little ‘light bulb’ moments, and sometimes it was responding to what the class was giving us!

Primary school students dancing during an African Drumming Workshop by Unbeatable Energy - Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire

Primary school students dancing during an African Drumming Workshop by Unbeatable Energy - Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire

Communal celebrations...

All the classes came together in the hall for the final celebration assembly. There was neither the room nor the time for each class to perform what they had learned on the drums. What we did instead was have each class sing their rhythms to the other classes. Each rhythm had been taught using words, so it was the best way to make a communal experience and get the kids all joining in with one another.

It was incredibly satisfying to hear! We could really tell that the week had a huge impact on the children and they were sure to remember it for a long time to come.



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