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West Music’s Vice-President of National Sales, Melissa Blum, shares her perspective on how World Music Drumming will recharge your fall!

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with the World Music Drumming Curriculum teacher training program since 2004. I’ve attended countless workshops as a participant and worked with thousands of teachers who have taken the training and have since brought it to their students. Since 2009, I’ve been a member of the World Music Drumming Faculty, creating and teaching the Drumming up the Fun! workshop for teachers of students from PreK-Grade 2. Through these many years, I’ve had more teachers than I can count share with me that these workshops changed their lives – as teachers, musicians, members of a musical community, and for their students.

The Roots of World Music Drumming

Founded in 1997 by the late Will Schmid, and now directed by Dr. Patty Bourne, World Music Drumming is taught in over 20,000 schools worldwide. As described on, World Music Drumming is first and foremost a learning community, engaging teachers and community leaders in professional development workshops. Our focus is classroom drumming, singing, and movement in the style of the music of West Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.”

Workshop Structure

The workshops are 5 days long, beginning on a Monday morning, and ending on a Friday afternoon. There are multiple classes offered through the program and different class options offered at each site. Participants are in a single class track through the entire week, but all workshops include chances for all participants to come together at some point each day to make music as a workshop community. The core component of World Music Drumming Level 1 is the publication, World Music Drumming: A Cross-Cultural Curriculum, 20th  Anniversary Teacher Edition, by Will Schmid. The other workshop classes build off the concepts and pedagogical approach from this fantastic resource. Remo Tubanos and other small percussion form the basic instrument components of the workshops. In addition to ensemble drumming, participants sing, move, play xylophones, recorders, and more.

For First-Time Workshop Participants

For new workshop participants, I’ve found that the sense of community and accessibility they experience is one of the immediate “ah ha” moments. There is something remarkably special and unique about the drumming ensemble experience. The curriculum and the workshops are taught using primarily an oral/aural tradition. This means that participants must watch each other, listen to one another, and connect with one another as they play and learn. This connection creates a sense of belonging and purpose.

The curriculum emphasizes a set of key words, the first 3 of which are “Respect,” “Focus,” and “Teamwork.” These concepts are woven into every part of the World Music Drumming workshop community, and they are part of how the curriculum is taught to and shared with students. Many participants share that when they bring World Music Drumming back to their students they often find that many times the students who might otherwise “fall through the cracks,” or who experience a great deal of frustration in other aspects of school are able to be successful in this curriculum. The program uses drumming to teach students about communication, listening, cooperation, leadership, creativity, and cultural appreciation. And, of course, drumming is cool!

Join us for a World Music Drumming workshop this summer and learn first-hand why you will want to come back year after year!