I taught the galloping djembe rhythm, set out in the last issue, to a year 5 and 6 group who were already familiar with the straight 4/4 version. It was a great success; and I think that it will work well in the end of term concert.
What was interesting to observe, was that several children, who are very competent drummers with lovely, relaxed hands, and good coordination and firm control of pulse and rhythm, were completely flummoxed by the galloping version of the rhythm. Other children who are less noticeably able in this area had no trouble in learning and playing the patterns.
I think this gives an insight into the need to teach the more able children the skill of how to learn. If they have never have to work at acquiring a skill, because it all comes so easily, then they are ill-equipped to deal with the situation when they encounter something that doesn’t “work” first time. I could see that one of the able children had a kind of confused, haunted, expression on her face as she struggled to make the new rhythm “happen”. As it happened. it wasn’t possible for me to intervene at the time, but I will make sure that I include a section on learning strategies next week. I will also make sure that she is actually paying attention and absorbing the “how to learn” part of the lesson, as in the past she has always been able to just pick up the patterns without effort, so may not realise that this part of the lesson is for her benefit as well as the other children!