Published: December 07, 2009
Not even five minutes into the class and adjunct music professor
Nathaniel Strawbridge is already feeling the beat. He’s leading the
class through a rehearsal for their final performance on Dec. 7 at 5
p.m. in the Vaughn Center lobby.
“You tired? You hurting? We’re not messing around,” he shouts to the World Drumming Ensemble class. “Count louder!”
uses his whole body to teach the class – dancing, pacing, drumming as
an echo, drumming as the leader, drumming on the floor. He even sings
the drum beats like a foreign language.
As the rumbling of the
drums rattles the lockers in the back of the room, it is clear the
energy of the drum beat is awakening something inside this music
“This is my passion,” he said. “I love world drumming.”
who spends his days as a music teacher at Crestwood Elementary School
in Tampa, has been teaching the World Drumming Ensemble in the evenings
for about three years and has seen it grow in popularity.
Wise ’10 said she took the class because she thought it could help with
her rhythm. As a music major in voice, Wise needed the ensemble class as
a course requirement but has been having a great time with it.
“He makes it a wonderful class,” she said. “Even those of us who aren’t talented, he makes you feel so.”
Strawbridge is a professional trumpet player but has always been attracted to the drum.
up I’d be tapping tables all the time,” he said. “When I graduated I
started to study music from different cultures. The more I learned, the
more I learned I don’t know.”
While the class meets on Mondays
this semester, it’ll switch to Tuesdays next semester. The final
performance for this semester on Dec. 7 will include an Afro-Cuban
rumba, a West African Gahu, a Chinese folk piece and a Dominican
“Students come away learning about different cultures
and gaining rhythm proficiency,” Strawbridge said. “A lot of people
don’t think they have rhythm, but it’s there. What I do in the class is
drain it out. If you have a heartbeat, you can drum.”
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
Sign up for
UT Web Alerts