Learn the language of rhythm at Tuesday drumming sessions


By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, June 26, at noon.
The class offers a welcoming environment that encourages fun, creativity, playfulness and connecting with others. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. Designed as an opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity, the drumming class is a family-friendly activity open to all ages. No previous experience is necessary.
“It’s time that the jazz musicians take up their original role of leading the public into a more adventurous rhythm … it’s time to shake things up a bit,” said legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck in 1961, two years after The Dave Brubeck Quartet released it’s groundbreaking album “Time Out.” One of the tunes on the album, “Take Five,” became the biggest-selling jazz single ever.
Brubeck dreamed up the idea of doing an entire album in unusual time signatures after returning from a trip to Turkey, where he had observed musicians playing traditional music in asymmetrical rhythms unfamiliar to the Western ear. The end result of his dream, the album “Time Out” was comprised of original music that departed from standard symmetrical meters.
Most Western music is dependent on a structure with two, three or four beats in a measure. Some musical cultures from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Balkan Peninsula use other metric structures, such as five, seven, nine, 10, 11 and others. These rhythms can be difficult to follow if you don’t know how they go. Complex rhythms can sound chaotic and unpredictable until their patterns become familiar, then they’re a lot of fun to play.
From time immemorial, people have been gathering to sing and dance, synchronizing their voices and movements to a repeating pulse. Odd rhythms, even rhythms, any rhythmic pulse can be a groove if it aligns with the impulse to be musically creative. The most important thing is the feeling behind the music, because music is a language of the emotions, a language that speaks from the depths of our being and a birthright of everyone. At the hand-drumming class, the throbbing pull of the drum connects us to ourselves and to one another.
For more information about the Pagosa hand-drumming class, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.