Wow! Last Friday we finished up the first Summer Youth Intensive Marimba Class in Corvallis. Eight students, aged 9-13, came and played for 3 hours a day for 5 days under the direction of Gary Spalter. I was a parent helper, so I was able to hang out in the class for about 2 hours each day. The students ranged in ability and previous experience: some have been playing marimba at school and in after school programs for a few years. Some had played a few years ago in school. And one girl, a Japanese exchange student, had never touched a marimba before. It was so exciting to see how they all progressed, whether it was solidly grasping the syncopated rhythms or mastery of complex running patterns. The kids had a blast, and were incredibly focused given their ages. They were captivated by the music, and Gary’s laid-back teaching style made it really fun for them. The kids would come in early in the morning, and from their recess breaks to start playing again. Of course, by the end of the week, they were getting a little tired, and there were several blisters that needed band-aids, but that didn’t stop them! They learned the basics of 5 songs (Nyungwe, Chemwainyera, Tsuro, Ndangariro and Nyuchi Dzinoruma) and performed them for friends and family on the final day.
Click here to listen to a clip of the kids playing Nyuchi Dzinoruma (learned Wednesday, played on Friday!).