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Lexington Drumming

Lexington's Artist-In-Residence, Steve Campbell, Dancing Drum

Lexington Elementary teacher, Emily Bailey, using a portion of the AAEI grant, welcomed Steve Campbell of Dancing Drum as an artist-in-residence this week. Using his Djembe drums and Rhythm Phonics, Campbell brings drumming to students from across the world, including West Africa. Students have learned to play the rhythms on drums with verbal cues. The $20,000 grant has been used at Lexington for both visual and performing arts instruction.


The Djembe drum, according to Campbell, is known as the “unity drum,” and “its purpose is to call people together in fellowship, healing, and celebration.” In Dancing Drum publications, it is explained that “Outside Africa, Djembe and Djun-Djun drums have become ubiquitous in drum circles and classrooms all around the world.” Drum lines form the marching foundation for high school bands and drum corps, including Lexington’s own Marching Bears.


Their world is right here at school for our Lexington students, making music and learning new developmental skills. Dancing Drum began in California, moving to New Orleans, and traveling and teaching around the world. As the class time came to an end, Mrs. Bailey’s third-graders voice, “Let’s do it again,” demonstrating their engagement and enthusiasm for drumming and playing music with their minds and bodies.