One of the biggest and best parts of my musical life has been to teach and make music with children. This part of my career has been particularly rewarding. This is true, both in the moment and also years later when I have seen my kids or they have contacted me. I started teaching in the Berkeley Public School system in 1982. I was a recipient of several California Arts Council grants starting in 1983, which enabled me to teach at Berkeley Arts Magnet School. This was a GREAT experience. I taught Kindegarten through 8th grade during school hours. At Berkeley Arts Magnet the last period of the day was an Art Elective time slot for the 4th – 8th graders. My percussion ensemble was one of the electives, and I would have up to 40 children in the ensemble. This group of children became very accomplished! … and was a huge success in our community at large. The percussion ensemble from the school performed regularly, including performances such as Berkeley Community Theatre program for Winnie Mandela, Shriner's Football Game, Great American Music Hall with Pete Escovedo and Ed Kelly, Cinco de Mayo and Carnaval Parades in San Francisco. I also have a number of kids from those days who have gone on to become well known professional musicians. I worked at Berkeley Arts Magnet School for 12 years, and then took a break. I returned to teaching in the public school system in 2000 and spent 6 years with the kids at Chabot Elementary in Oakland, Ca. This was also a great experience.

In my journey of teaching children I learned many things about the drum and about how to teach. In effect, the children taught me. At the same time that I was teaching in the public school system, I was also running drumming classes at San Quentin Prison in Marin, Ca. I noticed that a lot of my adult students at SQ had severe dyslexia. In all my children’s classes we worked extensively with left/right hand and eye coordination. I often saw my kids in the men at SQ and wondered if their lives might have been different if someone had just taken the time with them when they were kids to help them and care for them with this kind of coordination. Drums are a powerful medicine. Coordination is one of the positive outcomes of drumming, as well as social interaction with the group. Each drummer in the ensemble has a place. Their individual part is important to the whole. Without every persons part the whole changes. Wholeness is Wellness and I have learned that most humans need, at every age, connection to others in positive ways. What better way than drumming and music making!

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