Germany DrumAbout – Ginsheim – OCT 2016

Hello My Friends,
Christiane Meier, is our local organizer for the Ginsheim Germany area, but because of her job description and expertise her outreach went to professional music teachers from all over Germany. She even published an article about the concept of RAP in a publication distributed throughout Germany, directed specifically towards music teachers. 

Christiane is a 6-day graduate from the 2015 Germany Playshop. She is the founder of a private music school that has two brick and mortar sights with 36 music teachers. She also sends music teachers out into the schools in two metropolitan areas, Wiesbaden and Mainz.

She has been running this school system called, Musik Schulz Meier, successfully for 19 years and is continually increasing the numbers of schools where her music teachers are facilitating.

Christina’s organization is also doing good “tithing" work by taking a percentage of the profits made selling and renting instruments to students, then using that $ to buy instruments and send them, sometimes in “adventurous ways" to a small coastal town in Haiti called Aqin. They also dedicate a percentage of their concerts to that cause. 

I say “Adventurous Ways" because it costs a lot of $ to ship stuff overseas, so Christina partners with companies and organizations to slip their instruments into unused spaces in their shipping containers heading to Haiti.

Since the earthquake of 2010, Musik Schulz Meier has built, together with Claudette Coulange (of duel Haitian/German citizenship), a music school in Aqin. 

As a part of the HEP, Haiti Project Education, Musik Schulz Meier has sent 100 recorders, 10 guitars, 8 violins, a keyboard, a drum set and an accordion, etc, to Claudette’s music school.

We have just received information concerning the devastation in Aqin caused by the recent hurricane “Matthew.” Nearly everyone has lost the roof to their houses, the local plantation and corn fields were wiped out, and most of the trees that were recently planted to help stop local erosion have been knocked over or destroyed. The bridge that connects Aqin to the mainland has been washed out and there is no fresh water, food or electricity.

SO!  Tonight at the drum circle, we collected donations for the Haitian victims of the recent hurricane Matthew. Now they need food and shelter more than they need music.

Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop

The contrast between the Berlin Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop and the one held here in Ginsheim could not be greater.

The Berlin RAP was full of professional drummers, musicians and drumming instructors who had an intention to GROOVE play hot and heavy and have rhythmical fun with the games that I presented.

The Ginsheim RAP was full of professional music teachers of all sorts (see the rough demographics below). They were there to learn RAP games and adapt them to us with the populations that they serve.

The demographic of the Ginsheim RAP consisted of a School Principle, School Teachers, Music Teachers (many worked for Christiane), another person other than Christiane who owns his own music school who brought 6 of his own teachers, a number of hand drum teachers, the leader of the German Association of Private Music Schools, a Classical Concert Percussionist, two Day Care providers and a few Recreational Drummers. The majority of these people had serious intentions to learn RAP games to deliver to their constituencies. The 
three kids who were there had a ball (in-between the boring concept, adaptation and delivery discussions).

Although we played the same litany of games that we did in the Berlin RAP, the grooves were shorter so that we could explore more game variations.

They got excited when I announced that we would be doing a full week of Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop games for Facilitators on the North shore of the island of Oahu, Hawaii next August. (Aren’t You?)

Open Community Drum Circle

The Ginsheim drum circle had a well balanced mix of “Family Friendly” players and, in combination with our well-balanced REMO drum kit that Ben and I are fine tuning as we use it throughout the tour, we had a great musical DC experience.

Our co-facilitation drum circle team of VMC Playshop graduates for this event consisted of Christiane Meier, Raid Ishandar, Dietmar Goppert, Benjamin Flohr & Me-Self-Elf - Plus a surprise jump-in facilitation from one of our Music teachers who attended the earlier RAP.

The four facilitation sequences that I made note of were:

#1- Dietmar sculpted all of the percussion players with a “Continue to Play” signal, then “Stop Cut” all the drums, thus showcasing the “Percussion Song."

  • Then he invited the listening drummers, to pick up any percussion laying around them and join the percussion song “If they wanted to.”  About half of the listening drummers picked up some type of timbre instrument and joined the percussion song.
  • When the new percussion players settled into the song, Dieter invited the rest of the players to join in with their drums “At Their Leisure” thus instigating a self-facilitated “Layering In” of the drummers. SWEET!

#2- In this Co-facilitated piece,

  • Ben facilitated the center circle with a simple repeated accent note progression of a repeated 1 - 2 - 3 - & 4 accent sequence,
  • While Dietmar facilitated the outside rows of the circle with an “In The Round” - “Stadium Rumble Wave”. That rumble wave sound changed in tonality and pitch as it wrapped itself around the accent note center circle. AHHHhhhhh! The Mystery of Rhythmical Alchemy.

#3- Ben sculpted the circle into quarters, gave a “Continue To Play” to one of the quartered sections then “Stop Cut” the 3 other sections.

  • Then Ben theatrically “Grabbed” the rhythm groove from one section and theatrically “Threw” it to the “Next" section. Repeat until you get around the circle twice.
  • Then Ben theatrically would “Grab” the rhythm groove from one section and “Throw” it to a “Random" section. Repeat “Random Tossing” a few times.
  • Then he Grabbed and "Held the Rhythm" in is hands, for 2 measures of silence, before tossing it to anther section for 2 measures.
    Repeat a least 4 times.
  • Ben theatrically Grabbed and "Held onto the Rhythm" for a while, keeping it close to his chest, theatrically protecting it. 
  • Then he “Layered In a Song" into the circle by pulling a little “Pinch of Fairy Dust’ from his cupped hand with the thumb and forefinger of his other hand and then sprinkled it onto specificity chosen players, thus initiating their playing. 
  • After letting the non-players listen to the new song, Ben initiated to a new groove by theatrically tossing the rest of the “Fairy Dust’ around to the rest of the players. Sweet sequence.

#4-  There was a very good, and sensitive Djembe player with his high pitched drum strapped on, standing up in the isle-way, next to the back row seats. He was playing a nice straight forward and supportive groove.

  • One of the music teachers, who had attended the earlier RAP, jumped into the circle and gave the Djembe player a “Continue to Play” signal,
  • Then he took his time doing a simple and beautiful “Layering Out” one by one of each player “In The Round” from the Djembe player all around the circle - back to the Djembe player, so that the groove faded until it was just the Djembe player’s sweet groove being showcased and soloed.
  • The music teacher then let the circle listen and enjoy the groove for a few measures before “Layering In” the players, one by one, “In the Round” back to the Djembe player.
    The result was, of course, a totally different groove than the one before, with the added benefit of more listening and a higher level of musicality. Ahhh.. Simplicity and KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple).

My biggest learning from this event was that when you KISS, you can take your time in your facilitation sequence and still complete it in less than two minutes.

Thank you Ginsheim! Now Ben and I pack up the GEWA Drum Van and drive off into the night to Frankfurt.

Life is a dance...  Arthur