Tap into your creative musical potential at Tuesday hand-drumming sessions


By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at noon.

The class offers a welcoming environment that encourages fun, creativity, playfulness and connecting with others. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. Designed as an opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity, the drumming class is a family-friendly activity open to all ages. No previous experience is necessary.

Jazz great Duke Ellington began establishing his musical identity as a young teenager while working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Cafe in Washington, D.C., in 1914.

“I began by tinkering around with some old tunes I knew,” said Ellington. “Then, just to try something different, I set to putting some music to the rhythm that I used in jerking ice cream sodas at the Poodle Dog. I fooled around with the tune more and more until at last, lo and behold, I had completed my first piece of finished music.”

When Ellington composed “Soda Fountain Rag” (also known as the “Poodle Dog Rag”), he had not yet learned to read and write music.

“I would play the ‘Soda Fountain Rag’ as a one-step, two-step, waltz, tango and fox trot,” he said. “Listeners never knew it was the same piece. I was established as having my own repertoire.”

Ellington went on to compose over 3,000 songs, becoming one of the most influential figures in the history of American music.

Exploring natural affinity for rhythmic sounds is the easiest way to tap into the fountain of creative musical potential and give expression to musical imagination. Creative expression can brighten our mood and enrich our lives. The good thing is we don’t need special training or extraordinary talent to be creative, just a willingness to give it a try.

According to Sir Ken Robinson, an authority on creative development, “The arts address the idea of an aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which the senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing, when you are fully alive.”

Creative expression turns on the fountain of inspiration, tapping us into a form of communication that goes beyond what words can express. Expressiveness, inclusiveness, playfulness — the priorities in the drumming class — give rise to uplifting and energizing experiences and a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, belonging and well-being.

For more information about the Pagosa hand-drumming class, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.