J1 and J2 had a great time with a day of African Drumming in Big School, where they learned how to play the djembe and dundun drums. 

Some J1's have written about the experience below.

On Wednesday J1 went to an African drumming and dancing workshop. This is how it went.

First we got shown some African drumming videos. It was amazing because it was quite cool looking at how fast they can play the African drums and how they sound. Then we went to Big School and the African drumming teachers played for us. Then we had a go at a call and response game. It was great! I loved it. Then we did a rhythm called Yankadee or something like that. We did rhythms like ‘there’s a train rolling down the lane’ and then we put all the tunes together and made a really long tune. My hands really hurt when we finished.

Then we did some dancing. We had to really crouch and put our arms in the air and it was very tiring keeping our arms in the air for so long. We also had to do lots of stepping back and forwards. It was absolutely terribly tiring. I sort of loved it except for the tiring bit.

The teachers came from Senegal in Africa. They had only just arrived the day before. They said that Senegal was very green and that there was a festival every year where people sang and danced. We saw a video of one of them who fell over whilst he was dancing. It was an accident. Everyone danced really well, they kept on jumping in the air. It looked really tricky.

It was one of the best school days of my life but it wasn’t one of the best out of all the days in my life.

By Sam Dobson 

Wednesday was one of the most exiting days of my life. My class and I had African drumming!

There were two pairs of drums that had cow skin on them with the fur still on but it was wearing off in places. There was a thicker drum that made a low sound and a thinner but taller drum that made a higher sound. To play these drums you needed to hit them with a stick because cow skin is very thick. Unfortunately I did not play these drums!

My drum was single drum made of goat skin and wood. Goat skin is thinner so you hit these drums with the palm of your hands. If you hit the middle of the drum it makes a low sound but you make a higher sound by hitting near the edge.

After a while my hands started to hurt!

The drums were shipped all the way from Africa so we had to take good care of them and didn’t let them fall over.

Sometimes we played one at a time if the teacher chose you but other times we all played together and this was the most fun. In the solos it was quite quiet but sometimes we had a chain reaction of drum playing with one person playing after the other.

African drumming was very tiring and it was hard to keep the rhythm but I loved it and I want to do it again.

By Xavier Semple

On Wednesday some people who had just come back from Abene (West Africa) came to teach us a bit of African drumming! Before that they showed us a video of them being in Abene and also of African people drumming.

Then we went to Big School to do some drumming! The drum we were using is called the Djembe. It was made of wood, goat skin and strings. The teachers gave them out, and then we started drumming! The first rhythm was called Yankidy. The second rhythm I can’t really remember what it was called. First we started working on Yankidy, it was fun! There were two parts to it. First we learnt part one and then part two. My favorite part was part two. There were words to help us with the rhythm, the words were: ‘we are the best in the world’ and: ‘here’s the train, rolling down the lane’. Once we had finished Yankidy, we moved on to the second rhythm. This rhythm also had words to help us. The words are ‘banana skin’. And then we practised again from the beginning (which was Yankidy) all the way to the end (which was the last rhythm).

This day was the best day of my life! I really enjoyed drumming.

By Calvin Dai