Last month was our annual African Drumming workshop visit to St. Michael's Secondary School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Was this the seventh or eighth year running that we had drummed with their pupils? We're not sure - time goes by so quickly it felt like we were there only yesterday! What we can tell you is that the workshops at this school just get better and better! We have never come across such enthusiastic and bright children. Five year 9 and year 10 classes took part in the African Drumming workshops and in every single session the pupils amanged to combine at least four polyrhythms and were able to hear and appreciate the combined effect.
There are some really talented young people at this school. Many have been studying music long enough to acquire a very mature approach to learning music - they learn by watching and listening instead of 'having a go' as soon as possible and then failing dismally! We frequently came across pupils who appeared to be reluctant to participate. When they suddenly could play everything perfectly, we realised that they had simply been spending all that time quietly observing! We were not used to Year 9 pupils behaving in this way and were quite amazed!