Hand drumming has been part of Carleton’s Music program for more than two decades, offering undergraduate music students experiential means of learning music theory and developing embodied rhythm. This non-western approach to learning rhythm sets Carleton apart, building transferable skills such as active listening, group leadership and non-verbal communication. A generous donation in 2007 allowed the Music department to purchase a collection of drums and small percussion instruments directly from Ghana, which resulted in the founding of the West African Rhythm ensemble. This participatory style music ensemble brings students together for musical and intercultural learning opportunities, and community minded initiatives.
In the video above, you will see how the drums are being used within the growing Music Department here at Carleton University.
Through the Future Funder, we have the opportunity to enlarge our collection of drums from Ghana, by purchasing a used set from Baobab Community, a local arts charity that is closing its doors after 25 years. Carleton’s Music program has grown and expanded over the years and the addition of these instruments would make it possible for all students to have a drum in Applied Rhythm class, as well as facilitating specific repertoire that the West African Rhythm Ensemble undertakes in its concert programs. With the exciting addition of Carleton Dominion Chalmers Centre, these instruments could also be used for Lifelong Learning classes (formerly Learning in Retirement) and other community events.
The funds raised will go towards the purchase of a variety of traditional Ghanaian instruments, including hand drums, stick drums, frame drums, double iron bells and gourd rattles. This local purchase would be a cost-effective way to increase our collection, thereby allowing us to reach more students both at the university and in the community.
Recent research has shown that drumming is a powerful tool towards positive social and mental health. The participatory nature of the music means that engagement is valued over perfection and as a result, can reduce anxiety and promote cohesiveness among participants, through the naturally occurring rhythmic entrainment that happens when a group of people drum together. Through a donation to Future Funder, you can help us to achieve our goal!