Mary Todd Elementary School
On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, I visited Mary Todd Elementary School in Lexington, KY to present clinics as part of the Lexington Philharmonic‘s school and community outreach program. It was the first time a percussionist was featured in these clinics. The students were obsessed with all the sounds of the instruments I shared with them, including congas, cajon, shakers, tambourine, various cymbals, guiro, and claves. I asked many questions throughout our time together. The students were enthusiastic and eager to participate!
Here’s the clinic outline:
- Opened with a brief cajon solo
- Greet students and introduce the cajon and its history
- Play opening of Ed Sheerhan’s Shape of You and point out the use of cajon
- Define “rhythm”
- Introduced percussion instruments and connected percussion and the importance of rhythm to percussionists
- Talk about the rhythms all around us (e.g. cross walk signal, turn signal in a car, walking footsteps, clock “tick”, etc.)
- Played recordings of birds singing as another example of rhythms found in nature
- Students created rhythms via call & response
- Split the group into 3 sections. Each played their own rhythm. Layer them in and out to see how rhythms in various combinations make more interesting composite rhythms.