|Why start a School Samba band?|
|Written by Giselle W|
|Wednesday, 06 May 2009 10:48|
Samba bands in Schools
Samba is the carnival rhythm of the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro, but school samba groups play many other (easier) styles of Brazilian percussion on their samba drums – reggae, funk, and hip hop are popular. The only limit is your imagination.
Samba music is part of a carnival tradition which involves costumes, song and dance as well as percussion. In a school context, this gives an opportunity for many different school departments to work together on a single cross – cultural project. Costume making, singing, dance and percussion attract different pupils and there will be something in this broad curriculum mix for just about everyone.
A school samba band is typically a group of 10 – 30 students playing Brazilian influenced percussion on Brazilian samba school instruments. The samba band is a marching band, but is unlike European and American marching bands in many key respects.
Perhaps the single most important difference is that samba music is an aural tradition. In Rio de Janeiro no community samba band uses musical notation; everything is learnt by ear through persistent practice. If you apply this principal to music performance through a school samba band, you can reach those pupils who have previously proven to be resistant to formal musical education. The samba band reaches parts that other music education cannot reach, and allows pupils who just don't want to learn musical notation to strive for excellence alongside their more academically inclined classmates.
Buying Samba drums
To set up the samba band you will need samba drums, but equipping a school samba group is cheap compared with setting up other types of musical ensembles. You will need surdos, caixas, repiniques, tamborins, chocalhos or ganzas, and you can add other instruments like agogos and timbas.
You will need to be careful when you decide to purchase teaching sets of samba drums. though as there is a lot of poor equipment and even poorer advice on the net. Most sellers of samba percussion equipment to schools are there because they have spotted a market, and know very little about the school samba packages they are selling. Most of the equipment available is not what would be used in Rio, and some well known manufacturers are selling ‘samba drums’ that bear almost no relationship to the real thing. I've written some information about buying surdos, the most expensive of samba drums.
The function of a school samba band
I know schools that have set up samba bands for their underachieving pupils, others that have set up samba bands for their gifted students, some who use the school samba group as an extracurricular activity, and many more who integrate the samba drums into their regular curriculum. Some use a samba band to involve parents more in school life. I know of samba bands in infants schools, junior schools, high schools and colleges.
Your samba band will find itself popular. There will be many school functions at which the band can perform, and it probably won’t be long before the band is in demand from a wider local community. With canny management the band can raise money to support itself, or to donate to charity. However you choose to integrate your samba band into your curriculum, it will substantially enrich the educational mix you offer to your students
To see information about and examples of samba drum packages for children have a look at TDSounds pages of school samba drum kits, where you will find plenty of information about the drums themselves
Or contact us on ++44 (0)208 601 7131 or info at(@) tdsounds.co.uk.