Forest City Elementary is home to Seminole County’s newest elementary school drum line, and the heart-pumping sound of these young musicians keeps the campus marching to a very unique beat
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, before the first bell rings at Forest City Elementary School, members of the school’s extracurricular drum-line program head to the music room for rehearsal. Consisting of fourth and fifth graders, the group selects from a variety of 25 drum pieces to begin warming up.
Snare drums, bass drums, tri-toms, and auxiliary instruments are all there for these young drummers to try on for size. It’s actually the newest elementary school drum-line program in the district, and every student gets the opportunity to sample every piece to find their favorite drum. At each rehearsal, students focus on rudiments, sticking techniques, and playing at various tempos.
Forest City has long been home to one of the county’s most respected elementary school music programs. For years, Forest City students had the option of chorus, third-grade recorder ensemble, or Orff ensemble as a before- or after-school activity. About halfway through the 2015-2016 school year, however, administrators implemented a new and motivational program to the school’s extracurricular performing arts activities. Drum line was made available to fifth-grade students. Fourth graders were invited to take part when the current school year began, and the program is off to a tremendous start.
Forty students tried out for the drum line this year, with 25 of the best drummers earning a coveted spot on the line.
“There are many benefits to a student participating in a performance program like drum line in elementary school, such as boosting a child’s confidence,” says Dr. SaBrina Holmes, the school’s music teacher.
Dr. Holmes has taught in Seminole County for 26 years, and this is her second year at Forest City Elementary. She’s taken the reins of all the school’s extracurricular performing ensembles and hopes drum line will help her students develop self-discipline, social and communication skills, and an understanding that each individual contributes to a single, common goal.
“Drum line teaches students life lessons that could last through adulthood,” says Dr. Holmes, who points out that music studies have many cross-curricular benefits to help students understand sequencing, fractions, and routines while developing their kinesthetic and fine motor skills.
While Dr. Holmes expects drum line to be even more popular in the years to come, she also believes it will serve as a musical foundation for her students as they move on to larger programs in middle and high school.
“Hopefully they will graduate to reading drum rhythms instead of rote teaching,” says Dr. Holmes. “And, for the fifth-grade students, we look forward to their becoming a member of a performing group in the future.”
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