Drum2Talk: Rhythm, Relationship, and Race Winter 2023

Class Details

The students will create music cooperatively in drum circles using West African percussion instruments and participate in guided conversations about Race in America. Recognizing that racism has a profound impact on the lives of ALL Americans, the course will offer many opportunities to engage in and benefit from the emotionally healing aspects of rhythmic expression. The course will be expected to engage with selected readings and audio/visual from the deep breath of literature and media materials on Race, Identity, and Wellness. Additionally, drawing on our class conversations, the students will write and reflect daily in their journals. Although the journals are only for the eyes of the author, the students will submit a 2-page “Reflection of Position paper” due at the beginning and end of the course. The students will learn several important West African Ensemble pieces and the cultural context they fit into their country of origin. The participants will develop and practice the skills of Drum Circle Facilitation in their expected regular small group practice/”jam” sessions outside of the class. They will develop and use rhythmic improvisational skills. They will be able to publicly perform these West African Drum Ensemble rhythms. The students will be expected to have daily conversations with others outside of the course on issues around Race in America, reflect on those conversations in their journals daily, and summarize the essence of those conversations in the class.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 16
Expected: NA
Class#: 1378
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Regular appropriate full participation in discussion about the readings, media materials, and the drumming. Writing reflections in their journal from the frequent conversations they will be expected to have with persons outside of the course. There will be a public performance of the rhythms and music learned during the process of the course.
Prerequisites: This course is primarily for those with NO EXPERIENCE playing West African instruments however all levels and ranges of experience are welcomed and will gain in skill level. The primary focus is participation in conversations about Race and Racism.
Enrollment Preferences: 1.) Those with a stated STRONG desire to engage in conversation on race and identity. 2.) Those willing to explore their own family's relationship to the issues of racism.
Unit Notes: Otha is a Drum Circle Facilitator working with a wide range of clients from corporate thru all levels of education, and Wellness. He has taught music at various schools in New England, including Williams College. He has toured as a Concert Pianist.
Materials/Lab Fee: $300
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration
WELL Winter Study Wellness

Class Grid

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  • SPEC 37 - 01 (W) LEC Drum2Talk
    SPEC 37 - 01 (W) LEC Drum2Talk
    Otha L. Day
    TW 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    '62 Ctr Thea&Dance Dance Studi

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