• Improve leadership skills through sharing, support and reflective thinking.

  • Exhibit the values of skill building and the artful application of techniques through the process of study, practice and performance.

  • Demonstrate the value of creative thinking and improvisation through interaction and guided play.

  • Instill respect and appreciation for the music, instruments and tradition of other cultures by offering the highest quality information and resources.

  • Expand student’s capability for effective communication.

  • Understand how music reflects other aspects of community life including art, social patterns and culture.

  • Understand the music fundamentals, styles and forms and be able to analyze and create those elements.

  • Enhanced listening skills through active call and response.

The D.R.U.M.S Program is a curriculum based on native traditions and cultures from West Africa. Participants will learn authentic drumming along with vocabulary and geography from the Continent of Africa. This curriculum encourages participants to express themselves and discover new cultures and traditions while improving their general movement aptitude. This program is created for people of all ages and abilities.The D.R.U.M program is an educational enrichment and performing arts program designed for all ages. The major goal of this program is to provide participants a diverse education and cultural arts experience that will enable them to increase their awareness, knowledge and skills of West African drumming.

Find the lesson outline here

About the creator

man drumming

Dante Mitchell

For over 25 years Dante Mitchell, an accomplished West African percussionist, has performed in main-stage plays and productions and at various festivals and schools around the United States and Africa. Following a trip to Senegal, West Africa with Master drummer Youssou Lo in 1999, Dante developed a powerful appreciation and love for West African culture and music. Since then, he has used his immense musical knowledge and talents to perform, teach, preserve, and cultivate an awareness of the rich cultural heritage and musical traditions of West Africa through “edutainment” (education and entertainment).

Beginning his musical education with noted percussionist Baba Eric Rucker in 1990, Dante has studied and performed with many internationally acclaimed master drummers: Youssou Lo, Mamady Keita, Dr. Djo Bi, Aboubacar “Oscar” Camara, Fode Moussa Camara, Fadouba Oulare, Yamoussa Camara. Aboubacar “Amo” Soumah, Amara Mansare, Moha Dosso, and Fode Bangoura.

In 2006 he was asked to be the Musical Director for Dr. Chuck Davis dance company in North Carolina where they performed and toured for seven years with the African American Dance Ensemble (AADE). He has also performed alongside Master Dancer Kadiatou Conte, founder of Balafon West African Dance Ensemble.

More recently, Dante served as the Lead percussionist for Alvin Ailey Miami for the past 4 years. Today, he continues to travel África to study and share his musical talents and passion for the cultural arts with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He currently teaches K-12th grade music for Propel Charter School, along with being a Professional Teaching Artist for The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.