Because of its inter-disciplinary, multicultural approach, Roots of Rhythm is an ideal way to teach, review, and reinforce key ideas in the core subjects of social studies, geography, math, science, arts, and music. What’s more, Roots of Rhythm encourages positive childhood development by teaching cultural understanding, teamwork, problem solving, creative self-expression, and appreciation for the arts.
Best of all, Roots of Rhythm is fun! Each of the curriculum’s 15 lessons introduces a world drum as well as its historical, cultural, and aesthetic context. Students learn the rhythms and traditions associated with the drum and how those traditions have influenced other cultures through migration and commerce. Students also have a chance to make and play drums, adding tactile and creative elements to the lessons.
Roots of Rhythm was developed by the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) in conjunction with the International House of Blues Foundation (IHOBF) and is supported by NAMM, the International Music Products Association. The curriculum was written by professional percussionist and renowned ethnomusicologist Dr. Craig Woodson.
Taking its cue from the 5th and 6th academic standards of states such as New York, California, and Illinois, Roots of Rhythm teaches the following key ideas:
• Social Studies— Through Roots of Rhythm students learn to interpret maps, understand trade and migration, examine timelines, encounter world cultures, and discover how technology has shaped history. Geographic areas covered in the Roots of Rhythm curriculum include Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America.
• Arts & Music— Students learn the history and function art, dance, and music; gain an appreciation for the arts, especially by putting its art in an historical and cultural context; and develop teamwork skills by making drums and performing music and dance in groups. Lessons that combine music with other artistic disciplines include the Native American Lakota Drum, the African Djembe, Brazilian Pandeiro, Steel Drums from Trinidad, and the DJ Scratch Turntable.
• Science & Math— Roots of Rhythm teaches essential concepts, such as problem solving, scientific inquiry, process analysis, and the basics of engineering. Specifically, the curriculum introduces math ideas such as math in everyday situations (the math behind musical pitches), multiplication and division (the base numbers of Indian rhythms), and geometry (the measurement of drum shapes). Science concepts include classification (of types of drums), the property of matter (metals and cymbal making), and energy transfer (sound waves).
More details can be found by downloading the Roots of Rhythm content and promotional brochure from the PMC website. The brochure includes a sign-up sheet so teachers can learn about Roots of Rhythm Teacher Training Workshops in their area. Also online are the 15 lessons in PDF format and support materials, including Sample Syllabi, Fun Sheets, Curriculum Goals, and Audio Content. Coming in 2007 are a dedicated Roots of Rhythm website, new Subject Extensions, a Classroom Drum Map, and a Teacher Training Guide.
Formed in 1995, the Percussion Marketing Council is a trade organization dedicated to serving drummers and percussionists.