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 schools throughout the US and have been highly praised by students, teachers, parents, and administrators. By exposing students to the music and dance of West Africa, we aim to broaden students’ understanding of our increasingly interdependent world and encourage them to embrace cultural diversity. The joy and community spirit inherent in drumming and dancing gives students direct access to the concepts of tolerance, harmony, and responsible world citizenship.



  2721 Cardiff Ct, Winston-Salem, NC 27103




Living Rhythms Virtual / Hands-On West African Dru...

Program description

Available virtually or in person, Living Rhythms provides hands-on residencies and interactive assembly performances in the arts of West African drumming and dance. 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 investigation of the art, culture, and history of West Africa, with strong connections to the Common Core State Standards and the North Carolina Essential Standards. Most importantly, the Living Rhythms program benefits the personal development of each student by reinforcing the concepts of cultural diversity, tolerance, and responsible world-citizenship.

During the residency or hands-on workshop segment of our program, a drum is provided for each student in a given class, and participants learn music and songs that represent the folkloric traditions of several different African ethnic groups. Students then learn the dances that historically accompany the musical selections. In addition, students get a first-hand experience of how the values of listening, teamwork and respect directly contribute to our success – both artistically and personally. Each residency or 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 each session and 30 minutes for lunch).

During the assembly performance segment of our program, students are engaged in an interactive exploration of the drums and dance of West Africa. With non-stop audience participation, the entire student body becomes a part of the music and dance, thus learning about traditional forms of cultural art while also sharpening their abilities to communicate and work together. Students learn that their own individuality can be expressed in a way that contributes to the group, and that artistic expression has deep and lasting value in the lives of all human beings, regardless of age, race, culture or gender. The assembly performance generally runs for 45 minutes, is suitable for up to 1,000 students at a time, and features a surprise teacher participation twist as the grand finale.

Proof of insurance available upon request. ASC does NOT hold current documentation.

Booking / scheduling contact

Cassandra Elliott


Program detail
Artistic discipline: Dance, Multi-discipline, Music
Cultural Origin:
Program type: Assembly/Performance, Residency, Virtual/Online Program, Workshop
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
Subject: Dance, Literacy, Music, Social Studies / History
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 three 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 semi-circle.


Charlotte Mecklenburg County and surrounding area

Fees / Ticketing:

-$850.00 Virtual West African Drumming Workshop Series 

The Living Rhythms E-Learning course consists of a series of instructional videos found on a website easily accessible with a simple password. Specifically designed around the Common Core, participants play along with found-object instruments available at home or in the classroom, such as pots, pans, boxes, tabletops, etc. In addition to the videos, teachers, and students also have access to a number of downloadable pdf resources, including background information about the history and culture of the drums, plus lesson plans for teachers. The lessons remain available for an entire semester (Aug – Dec, Jan – Jun, Jun – Aug) and can be used for an unlimited number of students. (Please see attached PDF for more information)

$699 for a Half Day West African Drumming Program – Three Hands-on West African drumming workshops for up to 30 students each workshop. This includes one artist educator and drum for each student to use.

-$1,125 for a Full Day Residency or Hands-on Workshops, West 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 ( 3 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 (6 workshops), no assembly performances.

-$2,495 for a Three Day West 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 use, 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 (Individuals and organizations listed in this Directory can provide proof of insurance upon request. ASC does not hold copies of current documentation for providers): 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
Cancellation Policy

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