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HUMANS of DJEMBE – Part 24 – Justine Vallance ( Dargaville NZ)

By August 10, 2016Blog

“My djembe playing days began in Melbourne about 10 years ago. I was offered a job teaching art at a special setting school, which I gladly accepted and then was told – “We know you play musical instruments and have taught music before so we would like you to teach music here also.” Yes this was all true but I had never taught 5 to 18 year olds with such a varying range of abilities. This is when I realised that percussion instruments were going to be integral to the music programme because all of the students would be able to play something independently or with support.

A couple of months later, I drove past the African Drumming shop on my way somewhere and decided to stop in and check it out on my way home. Since that day, I have bought about 50 djembes (only four for myself and the rest for schools), been to Ghana, played with hundreds of amazing people and have had the privilege to learn from inspiring teachers and master drummers.

However, what is most important to me is sharing what I have learnt with young people in Australia and now here at home in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
There is nothing quite like sitting in a circle with a bunch of kids, all with drums (and everything else they bring with them).

You simply say “roll” and everyone responds even if it is the first time they’ve ever hit a drum. Instantly there is an energy that connects everyone in the circle. Differences disappear. Everyone is equal. In that moment, everything is right in the world – pure magic!”