Band Life is Family

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Photo Credit: Getty Images for NAMM

On May 22, 2016, NAMM members and musician Bernie Williams participated in a Day of Service, as part of the 2016 NAMM Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In, by coaching students and making music at Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy.

“It’s really important to have kids involved in music,” said Williams. “These are the next generation of artists.”

Several of the students at Friendship Tech identified music as essential and agreed that band life was “family.” Drum major Dwayne Smith has played music since the age of 5 and looks forward to working as a drummer and leading a band.

“I like playing drums because it’s relaxing,” said Smith. “The rhythm of music is great.”

Throughout the morning, students participated in guitars, drums and ukuleles sessions taught by master teachers.  

During the drum circle sessions, master teacher John Fitzgerald of Remo encouraged students to play the rhythm of emotions. Kids responded by drumming what anger and happiness might sound like.

“In Africa, they play the rhythm of language,” Fitzgerald said, as he guided them into an emotional groove.

One student reflected, “While playing drums, I could hear my heart beat.”


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