Things to Do

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Visit Bob Bloom at his website:

Visit Rhythmweb's
Tribute to Baba Olatunji

Look at Baba's Beginners' rhythms,taught at his workshops

Listen to Baba Olatunji

check out the
Percussive Arts Society

Speak the rhythm of this name:







About the reviewer:
Eric has also attended two three day Arthur Hull playshops(in 1995 & 2002), training in Kalani's DrumCircle Music , the REMO Health Rhythms training, and a three day workshop with Baba Olatunji, along with countless music lessons, classes, and workshops over the years.

He received his first lesson in how to hold drumsticks in NYC in 1956, from his uncle, drummer/actor Gene Williams.

Formal drum lessons began in 1963, and now, after dozens of teachers and many years, he is still a stu stu STUDENT of the art of percussion.

partial mission statement from stu: We will continue to study and to learn from those with experience whenever possible, and to review educational products here at RHYTHMWEB as we go along, whether workshops, DVD products,or books.

We respect you and your contribution to the online percussion community, regardless of where you may be on your musical path, and we strive to be useful in furthering love of the art of percussion music, in all it's diversity, through this website... so be it!















The Bob Bloom Workshop at PASIC 2006
A Review by Eric Stuer

[At right, from left to right: Bob Bloom, STU at Rhythmweb, and music therapist Bill Matney at Bob's November 12 2006 workshop]

Sunday, the day after the close of PASIC 2006, we went back to the now quiet Austin Convention Center to attend the Bob Bloom Drum circle facilitation workshop. Bob is one of the pioneers, about whom we'd read and heard for over a dozen years. We were looking forward to seeing just what he does and how he does it.

Mr. Bloom has a great deal of practical experience, as it turns out, and to our delight, his workshop centered on the practical, as opposed to the theoretical. He was friendly, down to Earth, and completely willing to share it all, from marketing and selling to design and presentation techniques. Alas, we did run short of time. We would have liked to see a longer workshop, and he could easily have filled one with content, but we only had the afternoon. Still, we touched on a lot, in the time allowed.

Rather than the circle format, we were purposely using auditorium style seating, similar to so many elementary school presentations. Our class size was about 25-30; he had us role play as 200 third graders while he did his normal 3rd grader school presentation. Then we went back and talked about just what was done (and why), at various points along the way.

We all had fun with it. As soon as we heard we'd be role playing 3rd graders, one distinguished looking gentleman in the front row raised his hand immediately and asked timidly, "Can I go to the bathroom?" [LOL]

Bob stressed the importance of building language learning and other disciplines into one's presentation, using official state educational standards as guides. His deceptively simple presentation was designed to be a sort of 'stealth teaching', if you will. I never actually heard him refer to himself as a 'drum circle facilitator'; rather, he describes his role as that of a 'teaching artist'. He embeds multidisciplinary learning into the set as he goes along.

At one point, for example, he had embedded history facts and mnemonic learning techniques in the segue between songs by saying:

"Whenever I have trouble remembering a name, I find a rhythm for it, like, oh, let's do: [in rhythm] John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Thirty-fifth President..", etc.

Once he had us 'kids' saying it, he switched us to clapping it, and off we went on his new song, Baba's 'Ara Me Le', using that rhythm as the basis for it. His whole program was extremely well thought out in this manner..The presentation was essentially song based, and designed to get every kid in the auditorium up to play drums in front of his or her peers by the end of the set. tres cool..

Bob has had the honor and good fortune to have served for years as a faculty assistant to Master Babatunde Olatunji at the Omega Institute for his "Language of the Drums" courses, and so Baba's influence was keenly felt throughout Bob's presentation, with several of his songs and frequent reference to Gun go pa and other things Baba has said and stressed:

"Unity of Purpose!"

"If you can say it, you can play it."

The whole workshop was very inclusive. At various points teachers and music therapists in the group brought up various points and explained the workings of their profession as related to the matters at hand. I got quite a bit of immediately useful stuff and it was wonderful to meet Bob Bloom and the other participants..

All in all, was an excellent investment of $55.00, and a perfect and fitting end to a very good conference. Sincere thanks to Bob Bloom and to the Percussive Arts Society for having him.

Eric Stuer, Nov 14 2006

[for a review of the rest of PASIC 2006, click here]

Postscript: I find that I am playing around with names more, since attending the Bob Bloom workshop, and I find myself working with Baba's name. Try this experiment.


Associated Rhythm Experiment: Come up with rhythmic phrases that fit together based on baba's name:

Baba (Babatunde) Olatunji

Use any combination of the above, with any numner of repetitions and omissions for artistic license.

You can use any part once, more times, or not at all..Layer them on top of each other and sequence them in different sequences for rhythmic variety. sometimes say em, sometimes play em, sometimes both..have one person go

(baba, baba, olatunji)

and another perhaps go

(tunji, baba olatunji. ola)

All kinds of interesting variations are possible, yet it's all thematically related, because it's based on few words. It works with many an interesting name or food. try it.

2006 nov

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