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Friday, April 21, 2017

A different drum: schools combine music, P.E. | Salisbury Post

Photo: Rebecca Rider
Rebecca Rider, Author at Salisbury Post summarizes, "It’s hard not to move to the beat. The music blaring from a speaker in Woodleaf Elementary’s gym is all high-energy — “Witch Doctor,” “Wipeout,” “Ghostbusters,” “Beat it” and “What Does the Fox Say?”"

Skylee Carter, a student at Woodleaf Elementary, prepares to strike a "drum" during a combined music and physical education class. Drums Alive combines the two subjects, teaching students balance, rhythm and coordination.
Photo: Rebecca Rider/Salisbury Post

But there’s another sound in the gym: the sound of drums. Second graders wield drumsticks, clacking them together above their heads and bringing them down with force on individual “drums” as they work their way through song after song.

The performance is part of a new physical education unit called “Drums Alive.” And it’s unlike any other unit the school system has run before. Because this one is a collaboration between music class and P.E.

When a school has the drums — bright green exercise balls balanced in a bucket — students get a chance to play twice a week, once during their P.E. time, and once during their music time. Operating on a “two brains are better than one” principal, the class is co-taught by music and P.E. teachers who guide the students through movement, rhythm and routines.

Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs, said that research has shown that combining music or art and physical activity helps stimulate the brain and sparks creativity.

“You’re using all areas of the brain when you combine music and physical activity,” she said.

And it adds an extra “fun factor” to both classes that helps capture students’ attention. The Drums Alive unit helps students learn how to follow directions, improves coordination and can even help them with fluency and literacy later in life.

“I think you get more power, you get more of the power flowing,” she said.

Feimster said she learned about Drums Alive when she saw a video of it on Facebook. The idea immediately captivated her.  “So we started investigating to see if it was a possibility,” she said.

The school system purchased three to four sets of 25 “drums” and drumsticks to be shared between the district’s 20 elementary schools. Schools sign up for the unit, getting the equipment for several weeks, before it’s passed on to the next school.

Source: Salisbury Post