Drumming to the beat

Students gather for a drum tutorials

by Despina Doukas

Last Wednesday, Aldo Mazza, founder and director of KoSA Music Academy, offered students an alternative and interactive way to learn about, and celebrate Black History Month, giving free African drum lessons in Conrod’s.
The hour-long workshop (which ran longer due to audience enthusiasm), became more of a musical collaboration between students and Mazza rather than a lesson.

At first, Mazza taught students about the origins of African drums, and then dove right into teaching students different musical techniques and sounds.  “You’d be amazed of what we can do in so little time” Mazza reassured students.
Within 15 minutes of practicing technique, students were ready to combine different sounds into a musical collaboration. They were each given the opportunity to present a solo, with the other students accompanying them in the background, making the experience very interactive, and allowing students to express themselves freely.

The connection between Mazza and the audience was un-doubtable, as he laughed, made jokes, and encouraged each student to have fun with it. In the light-hearted atmosphere, students felt comfortable making mistakes and laughing at themselves before trying again. Mazza circulated as students played, giving them each individual tips, and encouraging them to keep trying.
Although there were only 12 drums with which students could play, Mazza’s liveliness and the loud energetic beats of the drums attracted many passersby who filled Conrod’s, with some even dancing. When some students had to leave, other students, who anxiously waited to play the drums quickly took their spot.

Students were given the opportunity to take a break, rest their hands and ask different questions, though most were too enthusiastic, and with smiles on their faces opted to continue playing.

“It was so much fun, you get to learn so much about African music,” said Maia Leia Fournier, 2nd semester Cinema student after the show. “The battle between Flint and Aldo was the best part!” she said with a smile.
Fournier was referring to a “drum-off” between Mazza and seventh semester CRLT student Flint Deita, at the end of the lesson, in which with a show of applause, Deita was determined the champion.


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