The Beat Goes On

June 23, 2014

Confidence Building

Drumming is fun and easy, and everyone loves to participate. Still, some children are reluctant to take the lead. After several sessions, however, and watching their classmates succeed, they are ready to give it a try. Since there is no grade for drumming, and no wrong answers, and the group supports each other, every child is virtually guaranteed success. Once they come forward in the drumming sessions and experience this success, their self-confidence is buoyed - and it naturally carries over into other areas of the classroom and their lives.

A Shining Star

Children have a variety of different feelings when entering a drum circle from being overwhelmed, slow to warm up, impulsive, or ready to go. Sessions ago there were five, eight year olds out of 29 third grade students that were coy and slow to warm up to the concept of a drum circle. One particular eight year old boy, Lex, was a shining star and presented himself as so.

These feelings were not new to all of the five children, they were born with the temperament of slow to warm up to things. I did not know at the time that it would take weeks to let them get comfortable and to work with their personalities, but by the 6th or 7th drum session, out of 8 sessions, they all came to lead a drum circle.

During the 7th session Lex's teacher asked, "Who has not lead a drum circle yet?" Five hands went up. By this time the students were all ready to be leaders. Lex raised his hand and wanted to lead a drum circle. He got up, walked slowly to the center of the circle and successfully led all the other children in an activity. He did not stop smiling the entire time; he brightened the room as the shining star he is! All his peers were supportive and Lex felt confident about his ability to lead a drum circle. He then wrote me a letter stating: "I get very shy to stand in the middle, but I still like drumming." With this new experience he developed and enhanced his self-awareness and character building skills will carry over into his classroom and life experience. Lex's teacher now states that, "All the five students raise their hands and participate more during class." They all are shining stars!

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