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Students Learning Percussion, Finding Community During Rhythmic Connections
Students are finding their own beat and reducing stress through a community-centered program, Rhythmic Connections: Community Drumming Program. The program consists of hands-on community drumming activities where participants can explore rhythm and percussion in a safe environment while enhancing health and wellness.
There have been three previous Rhythmic Connections sessions available to students at the Barnes Center at The Arch, and the feedback has been resoundingly positive. One more session will be held on May 13. Students can sign up through the Wellness Portal for the next session.
“We heard some students say to us during this program that they’re so glad that they came because it gave them a chance to take a break, take a breath, forget about everything that’s going on for a minute,” says Scott Catucci, associate director for outdoor adventure, esports and student development at the Barnes Center at The Arch.
The sessions are led by Jimbo Talbot, an experienced rhythmic development facilitator with over 20 years of experience. He got his start in drumming as a sixth grader in his school marching band. He traded his trumpet for a drum right before a marching band concert began, even though he had no idea how to play.
Talbot fell in love with the rhythms he was able to create and went on to buy his first snare drum using money he earned by delivering newspapers. Since then, he has pursued drumming passionately, and he has been running his company Drum Quest, which promotes health, healing and community building through drumming, for about 15 years.
The most recent session was attended by 13 students, the maximum allowed due to health and safety regulations. Even with social distancing in effect, students were still able to connect with each other through the music they were creating.
Catucci and Talbot recall students spontaneously creating a dance and feeding off the rhythms the other students were creating. Catucci says that after the event concluded, students exchanged phone numbers and information to keep in touch with each other.
“They showed up looking for a new experience and were able to find that new experience through this program, and all things pointed toward them having a great time, sharing rhythm, sharing expressions,” Catucci says.
Community drumming has many benefits for both individuals and communities. According to Talbot, members of a community drum circle build trust and strengthen communication.
“It can also have a very introspective and meditative component.” Talbot says. “Drumming is something that always brings you back to your heartbeat, to your breath. It’s a great way to monitor what’s going on inside.”
Drumming also benefits mental health by acting as a stress reliever, and performing in a community setting creates a safe space for students to be supported.
“It’s an expression. And sometimes you have to play loud, because of all that stress pent up inside,” Talbot says. “Everyone notices, everybody’s paying attention, so we designed it in a way that it’s OK to be that way, and others will join you in that to support you wherever you are.”
Both Catucci and Talbot believe in the benefits of drumming and that now more than ever, drum communities can be a tool in helping students as well as other groups on and off campus navigate personal, career and cultural change.
For more information or to discuss a custom drumming program for your group, contact Scott Catucci at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a reservation request on the Wellness Portal. To learn more about Jimbo and Drum Quest, visit the DrumQuest website.