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Here's a Story....of a lovely lady....

Sharon Mack

"Here's a story...of a lovely lady...who was watching school music decline...She decided something had to be done."

"Here's the story, of a man named Ben, who was busy with his school children, but believed music could change lives. "

"Till the one day when the lady met this fellow, and they knew music was much more than a hunch. That this program could somehow make a difference...That's the way we became the Bucket Drumming Bunch."

This is a story of a school principal,Ben, who agreed to take a chance on a crazy idea  I pitched to him. First, we have to rewind...

I've spent the last 3-4 years observing school music programs decline because of funding. This kills me because music (and arts in general) should be an integral part of a student's life. I've pondered how I could make a difference. This past January, I tossed caution aside. I contacted Ben and suggested he consider an after school music program that I would teach. This program would be a combination of bucket drumming and rhythm games/activities all designed to promote cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills among students. We met one morning and talked about problems his school faces. I shared the statistics and information that I knew about the power of music. And then I shared my heart.  Sometimes you know the answer deep inside you. While I don't have all the answers to every situation, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that given the right environment and activities, music could be a catalyst for changing students lives in a positive way.

Ben agreed to take a chance. He recruited students to participate. For the last 5 weeks, 6 students from his school (ages 9-11) and I have met once a week. We drum. We talk and we play rhythm games. Rhythm games have helped reinforce math skills.(Sh-h-h don't tell the students we're practicing math skills!!)

I've watched magic happen. I've seen students transformed from quiet and uninterested to enthusiastic participants. J has morphed into a leader.  P, F and  R have become a team. They support and encourage each other. Most importantly, each student loves to be a "team leader" during practices.

From my perspective, it's a sacrifice of a Friday afternoon. It's a sacrifice that I'm gladly making because this "lovely lady" is seeing music transform lives. There is no better way to end my work week.

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