John Gibbard Lower School

In August 2008 I taught an African drumming workshop for a summer playscheme at John Gibbard Lower School in the Bedfordshire village of Sharnbrook, to a group of sixteen children aged between 5 and 8.

Since the weather was glorious, we had the chance to play outside in a delightful outdoor classroom they have set up with wooden benches forming a circle in a wooded glade, perfect for a drum circle!

After teaching basic techniques, I got the kids to compose their own rhythms for the group to play, which creates a good feeling of ownership and team spirit. It was nice to hear them instinctively coming up with patterns that are in fact old traditional rhythms - such as the standard Afrocuban clave part x..x..x...x.x... - the old tunes always work best!

I was invited to return in summer 2009 for another day of fun.