St Albans School runs a series of Taiko drumming workshops
St Albans School has run a series of Taiko drumming workshops for four local schools: Redbourn Infants’, Aboyne Lodge, Abbey Primary and St Michael’s. These have been run by St Albans School Head of German, Kevin Squibb, who is also a highly experienced performer and workshop leader of Japanese Taiko drumming. The drums have been loaned to St Albans School by Hertfordshire County Music Service.
These workshops provided the children with an exciting hands-on experience in playing huge Japanese Taiko drums with the aim of increasing awareness of the world of percussion. They hoped to inspire local Year 5 to 6 students to take up music lessons with the Hertfordshire County music service who had identified a need for more percussion players in County groups.
Phil Craig, teacher of Music at St Albans School and the Hertfordshire County music service, decided to collaborate with the new St Albans School Head of German, Kevin Squibb, who is also a highly experienced performer and workshop leader of Japanese Taiko drumming. Phil used his contacts in the music service to borrow a set of 12 Taiko drums for the duration of the summer term for three main purposes; to introduce St Albans School percussion ensemble to Taiko, demonstrate Japanese forms of music to his IGCSE class and offer a Taiko drumming workshop to each of our local Partnership schools.
This is the first year but all involved are keen to make it an annual event which would be critical to the success of the project; to ultimately inspire an uptake of young percussionists in the County.
The Taiko drums were supplied by Hertfordshire Music service. The sessions took place in the Hall at St Albans School. 30 children from each school were escorted to the School by their staff, on successive Monday afternoons where they each participated in an hour-long session of drumming. Instruction for these sessions was provided by St Albans School staff.
Each session resulted in small performances of groups of 10 to the rest of the class of a piece taught to them by Kevin and this was useful in identifying some potential musicians. Accompanying staff were vital in communicating the intent of the activity as was Phil who reminded visiting groups that if they want to do more drumming they needed to sign up as soon as possible when they get to secondary school and/or visit the local county music school for more opportunities.
A rehearsal of the St Albans School percussion ensemble took place each week at the start of the session so that they could demonstrate playing of the drums to the visiting children.
A class of 30 children from each visiting school took part in each of the sessions.
This series of four workshops ran during the first part of the summer term. This is the first time this initiative has taken place, but it is hoped that it will become an annual event.