Friday, June 17, 2011

Kenya music: rhythm

For music, I wasn't sure what we could do besides play some Kenyan music in the background of our activities or find some music on YouTube. So I asked a friend who is a music educator for help. How to teach a little kid about music in a way that's fun and educational? As a high school band teacher and a mom of three young kids, she was full of ideas.

She suggested we look at rhythm, as a good intro to young music learners. Specifically we could practice the rhythm in Kenyan drumming: a pattern of Long, short, Long, short short short. I played the Long short Long rhythm and then asked the The Whirl Girl to repeat it back. Eventually we will add in the additional three shorts. It's a work in progress, but the most important part is that she's having fun doing it. A perfect use for our newly created drum!

Then, we checked out this video. It was hard for me to pick out the specific rhythm, but it definitely sparked The Whirl Girl's curiosity. She loved watching it and playing her drum at the same time.

The Whirl Girl has also enjoyed listening and dancing to the Putumayo African Playground CD that we have. It's a great mix of cheery songs that make it hard to sit still. Unfortunately the tracks aren't downloadable on the Putumayo site, Amazon or iTunes so you have to buy the CD.

Others I've been checking out are:

Smithsonian Folkways has an amazing collection, and you can purchase and download individual songs, as well as albums. And they come with some interesting background information.

And The Rough Guide to the Music of Kenya, with short sample tracks available for listening but also not available for download.

Check your local library, they might have them!

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