Wednesday, July 20, 2016

African Drumming Workshop

We have had a fabulous day today with our local home-education group, where an African Drummingworkshop had been arranged.
Armed with the supplies to feed a small army, we headed out the door – which took a bit of doing.  I have forgotten what it is like to try to do things with a small pup around – I’m sure he is worse than a child!  After lots of escaped pup catching and cat rearranging, we left the house at 10.30am, leaving Joseph on puppy duty for the day.
Surprisingly, we arrived on time!  This is no mean feat I can tell you – organised mornings are not our strong point.
This was only our second time at the group venue, but it is such a lovely place.  There is an inside space, with a room, kitchen facilities, and toilets – plus an outside play with decking area.  There is also a large 3 acre or so natural outside space, with sectioned areas for play equipment and a campfire.  It is quite a find!
First job of the day was to get the drumming area prepared with chairs and the all important drums.  The children helped with this, and it was lovely to see such cooperation.  There were roughly 30 or so people in attendance, it was a real buzzing hive of activity.  We managed to arrange the seating in a circle of sorts, and we took our places ready to begin.
African Workshop home-education group
Photo courtesy of a lovely HEing mama.
Allan, the workshop leader, started us all off with a few warm-up exercises which helped to focus the children a little, then explained the right way to hold the drums in place and introduced us to a few rhythms.
Callum, Tiegan, and Taisia really enjoyed it.
drumming trio
Callum was especially enthusiastic.  He tried really hard to focus and get the rhythm right and did really well.  Taisia really enjoyed herself, but found following along a little trickier – but she gave it a really good go!  I think it is something I would like to do more of with her.
happy taisia
Dear Amara had a drum too and would happily join in the noise making!
We tried out many different rhythms and tones, before breaking for lunch – which is where things got a bit more chaotic.  The children went off in all directions to explore the open spaces, and once the drumming reconvened it was clear that a few had decided it was now time to play.
But that’s what I love about home-educating.
No pressure was put on anyone to take part and get involved.  Many were coming back and to at will, to join in or run away as they pleased.  It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and the children really benefited from it being so.  Callum wanted to do the afternoon session, so he stayed with me and we both enjoyed a bit of drum playing together.  Taisia, Amara and Tiegan on the other hand disappeared – popping up every now and again to check we were where they had left us.  I know there were a variety of role playing games going on, and dens were made, certainly everyone seemed very busy!
The lovely thing about the area used is that it is completely enclosed.  The children can’t leave (unless they undo the gate!), and the only way in is through the top gate and down the easily viewed path (or the slide!).   It leads to a feeling of safety for both parent and child and although obviously some element of supervision is required, you don’t feel frantic if your child steps out of eye line as you may do in a more public space.
The drumming workshop was ended by a lovely storytelling session, where Allan played a beautiful instrument which produced the most enchanting sound – sadly the name of which escapes me, I must research it.
We arrived home at around 3.30pm to be greeted by a very excited to see us pup!  Amazing how the little fur balls capture our hearts so quickly, I really missed having him around!  Our evening routine at the moment is really lovely, with a 9pm animal bed down time, followed by an hour or so of sitting outside as it darkens.  We listen to the owls hooting and watch the bats fly so low above our heads – amazing!  The children all join me as we sit and talk, and play with Milo.  It’s a really lovely way to wind down at the end of each day.

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