«DrumPower Against Violence» in Teaching Practice
by Tom Pohl, Classroom Teacher at Führich School, Munich
As a classroom teacher for year levels 5 and 6 at a middle school, the project has brought me very much that is positive. In particular, we were able to deal with how we solve conflicts and how we want to treat one another. Because I was an active participant in every phase of the project, I was able to transfer the acquired processes and results directly to my teaching.
When during the game «Solo-over-Pulse» we decided we wanted to play quietly in order to hear the soloist, I was later able to adopt this one to one during a classroom discussion. If, during a strenuous phase, the whole class manages to concentrate so well that outside disturbances are completely shut out, then this achievement can be used, especially with students who are who are focussed on failure, to show them they can succeed.
In this way, acquired learning strategies can be modified. This also works very well with individual students. An agitated, fidgety student comes to mind for whom it was difficult to remain still and concentrated during an assignment. During one of the games he managed to concentrate so well that he actually turned out to be the winner. This achievement I emphasised on and off again to show him that he is able to do it.
But even much more can be learned using the game «Solo-over-Pulse» alone. For example, it is new to some students that the common beat does not come about on its own, but rather through everyone having to stick together and getting involved. A classroom community cannot function when there are a few who just want to be waited on. We have been able to attain many such insights and integrate these into everyday life in the classroom.
I notice that social rules are dealt with much more specifically using music and not nearly as directive as is usually the case. Sooner or later, a point is reached in class when we have to talk with one another about rules. Why then should this not be done in a creative way that is a lot of fun.
Even if the following comparison may sound somewhat lofty, I actually experienced it in this way: one morning, just before a performance, when I saw the sun rise, it was as if I saw my class in a new light. Clear and colourful with many contours and no longer simply as silhouetted, as if covered by a blanket. Just as the sunrise made the shapes and colours come alive, in this way «DrumPower»showed my class to me. Just as it is, with all of its rough edges, but also with all of the potential that it has within it.
«DrumPower» was great fun for me and my students, and we progressed because of it. I hope that many more schools and teachers will be able to experience this.
«Drumming disturbs, drumming annoys, drumming is painful. None of these apply if one has experienced ‹DrumPower›. This school project, for integration and against violence, has been conducted twice already in Wolfratshausen Middle School.
In the process, those music teachers and sponsors whose great engagement and generous donations have made the project possible as well as successful, deserve the highest praise. Because of this, rough motor skills have turned into fine motor skills, loners have become team players, egotists have become school mates, and those students who were not accepted into Realschule or Gymnasium have become self-confident and able middle school students.
Wolfratshausen Middle School wishes to express its thanks for being chosen for this valuable project. Drumming inspires, unites, drumming strengthens!»
Peter Altstidl, former Headmaster