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Recently, in Round Rock, Texas, the whole town came together for “Shake, Rattle & Drum Roll.”

We created the drum show for special needs communities of disadvantaged, marginalized, ill, disabled, or troubled kids—and adults—and we had a blast. The show proved that no matter where your level of ability might be, you can still make music.

For me, drumming has become a bridge to many experiences where the kindness of others astounds me. The best part of being a Drum Coach at Round Rock Drums is being able to help people from all walks of life, and it just keeps getting better.

PREPARING

I’ve never experienced anything like the outpouring of support here in Round Rock, Texas. As soon as they heard about the idea for an event for the special needs community, my students and their families rallied to gather items made available for free by local businesses, to make five hundred handmade shakers, rattlers, drums and rain sticks.

We collected rice, beans, coffee cans, nails (yes, we used nails) and duct tape, and our little drummer-army created colorfully packaged noise-makers on my driveway. People driving by would stop and ask us what we were doing…I would just look up and tell them, “We’re up to no good!”

The instruments were ready, but there was still a lot of work to be done. Students prepared with private lessons here in the studio, practicing at their homes, and participating in group rehearsals in my yard. These kids focused on playing in unison, soloing, and giving every ounce of energy they had into exploding during our crazy “Big Ending.” While all this was going on, I could only imagine the looks on all my neighbors’ faces!

PERFORMING

During the interactive part of the show visitors danced to the beat, people in wheelchairs were brought to the front to play drums, and other guests created their own rhythms on cymbals and cowbells. The kids were great and we had so much fun!

The best part of the evening was watching visitors line up to choose their “instrument” for the show. We saw huge smiles, eyes wide open and full of wonder—my students and their parents included–while they handed out free stuff.

POSTING

An amazing bunch of surprises happened as soon as I began posting pictures of our event on Facebook. People everywhere were reaching out, telling us they were watching what we’re doing in our little corner of the world. Adding to the growing fire, the folks at Drum Talk TV, who had previously learned of our event, came all the way out from Las Vegas to do an episode featuring Round Rock Drums! Through this we were able to make connections with other passionate percussionists who likewise want to make an impact on the lives of others.

And somehow along the way Modern Drummer got word of what we are doing and asked me to write this blog about my experience. What really hit home through all of this, is the power of social media, through which we’ve been able to draw out and build communities rich with people who feel empathy toward all of humanity.

Our drumming community is filled with compassionate and generous musicians. My experience has taught me that music is the cause of magic in the soul: the best of us can only be found in those of us who have felt the magic touch of music. And it’s really up to us to reach out into our communities to help make the world a better place. (That’s right – It all begins with you).

I’m happy to be a part of what is good in people’s lives, and I love collaborating with others who are passionate. I’ve found that surrounding myself with positive and caring people helps me to help others even better as I seek to make meaningful connections.

The “Shake, Rattle & Drum Roll” event changed my life. Witnessing the love of a group of people seeking to help, feeling the appreciation of a group all too often pushed aside, and experiencing the support of a worldwide community of drummers has made an everlasting and encouraging mark on my heart.

I’m glad drumming found me!

Please send me your thoughts and ideas. I welcome all friendships and look forward to meeting everyone.

Happy drumming,
Ed Francis

Drum Coach, Round Rock Drums
Co-Founder, Rhythm Workshops
events@roundrockdrums.com


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