Arts and Education: Moving to the beat at Paxson Elementary School

Posted at 9:18 AM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 11:18:21-04

MISSOULA – We headed over to Paxson Elementary School where students are learning and moving to the beats of their own drums for this Arts and Education report.

Mathew Marsolek and Tracy Topp are two members of Drum Brothers World Percussion Ensemble and this spring they have been visiting schools throughout the Missoula area offering presentations on West African drumming, dance and culture. 

The presentation starts with Mathew and Tracy teaching the kids about the drum through song and then each student gets a drum and they are taught beginning drum language. 

Now I don’t know about you, but every time I hear drums and music playing, I feel like dancing.  So, how could you expect anything less from these second grade students?

"So we want to just give them that nugget of desire and imagination that hey, dance isn’t impossible and hard and tricky.  Any movement that we are doing in our normal life, make it a little bigger and suddenly you have a dance," Topp said.

Now to some, the scene may look a bit chaotic but when the dancing, singing and drum playing you see offers some fantastic learning opportunities.

"There are a lot of different elements that are really positive for these students and learning. One is just holding focus, learning how to hold a thought, a musical thought," Marsolek said.

"Also, the connection between the voice and the hand.  We really found that with children, it is a real sign of progressive development when there is a connection between the voice and the hands," he added.

When I was growing up and when you were growing up, we didn’t have this kind of opportunity and so we feel just a great joy in being able to give this opportunity to these children."