Degrees and Certifications:
About the Drummers Fun Club Teacher
Keith Johnson, Community Music Educator
Keith Johnson was born in the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a child, he was exposed to many cultural events that helped develop his interest in music, particularly the drums. After hearing the Latin beat of bongos and congas, the rhythm inspired him to hit the streets to learn more about Afro-Cuban music. This style of music was played in Adams-Morgan, the Latino community of D.C. Watching their drumming and dancing was one of the greatest experiences of his life, and started his journey of playing many styles of music utilizing a variety of drums.
Keith’s journey led him to Africa to learn about their drums. He met and studied with master drummer Yacub Addy of Ghana for a number of years. He also learned that the tonal language was the way of communication in Africa. On his first trip to West Africa; Accra, Ghana, he was amazed at the people and the food. He learned that traditional drums come in families, for example: Ewe drums (Sogo, Kidi, Kagan, Atsimevu, Boba, and Kroboto). Some of the drums are only played for the King. After studying for many years during his travels to Africa, his teachers entitled him a master drummer.
After extensive travel throughout West Africa (including Bamako, Mali, Dakar, Senegal, and Accra, Ghana) and his research on drums, Mr. Johnson became a craftsman of tradition with musical instruments. These instruments cover a wide range including Membranophones: talking drums, water drums, panlogo, djembe; Chordophones: Kora 21- stringed harp (grandfather to the banjo and guitar), gonji, violin, riki harp, lute; Aerophones: whistle, panpipes, signal flutes, transverse flutes; Idiophones: gourd rattles, seed pods, thumb piano, balaphone, and cocoon. During his research in the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith learned about the steel drums, a musical instrument indigenous to the island. This instrument was an extension of the African drum but with stretched metal to create pitch, similar to skin being stretched on a drum. The steel drum was like hearing the piano on 55- gallon oil drums. The tenor pan plays the melody while the double second plays harmony. The other drums are the guitar, cello, and bass pans. All of the drums together create the full sound of a steel pan orchestra with various styles of musical genre; classical, jazz, calypso, and popular songs.
Degrees and Certifications:
About 21st Century
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program is funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Arizona Department of Education. For more information visit: http://www.azed.gov/21stcclc/