How can the artform of Drumming support socio-emotional learning?

by Gema E. Cantu

May 31, 2022

One way, we have been meeting the needs for social-emotion learning for youth is through the artform of Drumming. Young Audiences Teaching Artists, Aaron Kierbel, uses his craft in drumming to encourage students at Lincoln Elementary in Vallejo to explore their self-expression and build connections with their fellow students.

As a new school year arrives and students return to their classrooms, teachers are looking for new ways to re-engage their students after two years of remote learning. For many students at Lincoln Elementary, Aaron’s drumming class is their only opportunity to engage in playful learning.

Aaron provides a drum for each student and gathers them in a circle to build a sense of community, rhythm dialogue, and participation. We asked Aaron what his experience has been like since being back in the classrooms, and this was his response:

“I have noticed that many kids are struggling with staying positive and cooperating with their classmates, as well as regulating their emotions. I am able to attend to these issues using the art form of drumming. Through finding a common pulse, playing in rhythm together, and connecting different emotions to different tempos and dynamics, I am helping students build these muscles in a creative, cathartic, and productive way.”

School teachers have also noticed that students who lack classroom participation or struggle with academic performance often do well in his class. “Students consistently say that my drumming class is their favorite part of their day,” Aaron tells us.

We know how the arts can contribute to the socio-emotional well-being and academic achievement for students. Therefore, to foster a creative learning environment, our partnering schools, teachers, artists, and our organization are coming together to integrate art into education so students can feel motivated to artistically learn and thrive.