Living Rhythms Hands-On African Drumming

Living Rhythms Hands-On African Drumming

Living Rhythms provides hands-on residencies and interactive assembly performances in the arts of West African drumming and dance.  We provide a drum for each student, and our programs are exciting, engaging and thoroughly educational!  For the last 19 years, we have delivered our programs at

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Living Rhythms: A Hands-On Exploration of West African Drumming and Dance


Program description

With a drum for each student, the Living Rhythms program is a joyful exploration of West African drumming and dancing that can include residencies, workshops, or assembly performances for the whole school, followed by a day of hands-on workshops with a drum for each student! Suitable for K through 12, our educational and highly participatory program engages students in an interactive


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Program Detail

Program type: Assembly/Performance, Residency, Workshop
Artistic Discipline: Dance, Multi-discipline, Music
Subject: Dance, Literacy, Music, Social Studies / History
Population served: Grade 1, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Kindergarten, Pre-K
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

September  1 – June 1

Available times:

9 AM – 3 PM

Length of program: Multi-day or day long residency featuring an opening assembly performance of 45 minutes, followed by hands-on workshops of 30-60 minutes each
Space / technical requirements:

For assembly performance: stage or gymnasium with two wireless lapel mics. For residencies/hands-on workshops: a classroom or similar sized space with enough open area to sit up to 30 students in a circle


Charlotte Mecklenburg County and surrounding area

Fees / Ticketing:

$649 for a Half Day African Drumming Program – Hands-on African drumming workshops with up to 30 drums for student use

-$1,075 for a Full Day Residency or Hands-on Workshops, African Drum and Dance Program:

—-A)  an opening assembly performance for up to 1,000 students followed by a half-day of hands-on drum and dance residency/workshops with up to 30 drums for student use;

—-B) Up to two assembly performances for up to 1,000 students, no hands-on workshops;

—-C)  a full day of hands-on drum and dance residency/workshops, no assembly performances.

-$2,250 for a Three Day African Drum and Dance Residency with Culminating Student Performance


Assembly performances are generally 45 minutes in length. Each residency/hands-on workshop includes up to  30 imported African drums for students to play, can accommodate one class at a time (up to 30 students) and can run from 30 – 60 minutes depending on the school schedule (we do request 10 minutes between workshops, 30 minutes between assembly performances, and 30 minutes for lunch).

For the residency, we will prepare one grade level of students for a drum performance on the third day. The first two days will be half days and the final day will be a full day. The workshops take place in the morning or afternoon during the first two days, with the final workshop on the morning of the third day with the performance in the afternoon.


NC Standard Course of Study:

R4 – Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone (in our case, identify and respond to key rhythmic phrases that occur in the genre of West African drumming which convey instructions to the musicians to start, stop or change the music.)

R7 – Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words (in our case, evaluate the number and pitch of notes in a rhythmic pattern played on a drum, and demonstrate the ability to integrate the pattern to the degree that the pattern can be reinterpreted and repeated back.)

SL1 – Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively (in our case, responding to a rhythmic idea by creating a complementary pattern, thereby collaborating with fellow participants to create a musical conversation.)

NC Essential Standards:

From the Arts Education, Music K-8 and 9-12 Standards:
K-P.MR.1 – Understand the interacting elements to respond to music and music performances

From the Arts Education, Dance K-8 and 9-12 Standards:
K-P.C.1 – Understand cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary connections with dance

From the Social Studies, K-2 Standards:
2.C.1 – Understand how various cultures influence communities


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Maintains general liability insurance: Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes
Provides tools to assess student learning (workshops and residencies): Yes
Provides scholarship and reduced fees: Yes
Conducts ongoing assessments of program quality: Yes


Brad Oliver

Program Manager K-12 Arts Education

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools



Mary Siebert

Arts Director

Arts Based Elementary School, Winston Salem NC


Cancellation Policy

If an engagment is cancelled for any reason, the parties will mutually agree on a new date for the event