After School Clubs

[ Drumming is fun! ]Weekly drumming clubs for Year 3+ children

In my long experience teaching African Drumming, I've found that After School Clubs, although lots of fun and brilliantly rewarding for the children, are rarely economically viable and have often proved difficult to organise. It will take a dedicated teacher or parent to take on the task.

I only run After School Clubs where I'm paid in advance and parents sign up their children for the entire course with weekly attendance instead of people dropping in and out at random, otherwise it just becomes a series of beginner workshops every time someone new arrives, with very little developmental learning and rewarding musical progress. Children need to attend from the first session onwards to avoid us having to go over things again each week which is frustrating for everyone else. We'd also need (at least) one teacher to be present every week and who would personally see the project through to completion, not a series of different teachers who change each week, for the sake of the children's continuity. The teacher needs to be in charge of discipline, with measures in place for bad behaviour.

An After School Club might be possible if I was already in the area, for example after teaching at your (or another) school that afternoon/full day; this reduces cost significantly (e.g., see Willington Lower School below).

In terms of numbers, up to twenty works best, less than ten becomes quite expensive per child. Drums are provided or children can bring their own.

It can be tricky to gauge demand, and would be a shame to go ahead and advertise a project only to not get enough interest due to lack of parental knowledge. A great way to get instant full bookings is to have a taster day of drumming a month or so before the ASC starts, then all the children will be raving about it 24/7!

Age range

Most Year 2 children are still only starting to develop rhythmic awareness and would struggle to keep up, or hold back the others. So I limit After School Clubs to Year 3 upwards, ideally with participants all of a similar age and experience level - it's not good to have Year 3 beginners alongside Year 6 pupils who may already have been learning African drumming with me for one or two years.

[Parents: If you'd like an After School Club in your school, or your child is drumming on everything in sight and wants to learn African Drumming, please read this page and then contact me.]

Previous project descriptions follow, as examples of how it could be run...

Please bear in mind that the costs listed below are historic and for projects where I was already on site to save travel costs; nowadays it costs more.

2012 After School Club for KS2-age children at Willington

One of my best After School Clubs was at Willington Lower School near Bedford. I was already teaching two classes there all afternoon, so the cost was only £30 per child for the course of ten 1-hour sessions. After the first week's school lesson, the keenest children signed up for the After School Club which started the following week. They then got special extra training to play solos and lead parts during the weekly school lessons, and became star players. Our end of project performance to parents was awesome! :-)

2013 After School Club for Year 4+5+6 schoolchildren in Bedford

In November+December 2013, I taught another After School Club featuring African drumming at a Bedford primary school (although this club was not open to external pupils). The course of sessions ran for six weeks at a total cost of £18 each and there were only 22 places available to book in advance. We ended with an exciting performance to parents in the final week!

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