DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Students here are marching their way back into the school year with a new beat.
Monday, several dozen 7th-12th grade students from Dayton Public Schools attended the Yamaha Sounds of Summer Percussion Camp.
The national program, sponsored by Yamaha and Hauer music, gives students and music teachers hands-on, intensive instruction on a variety of percussion instruments. Since it began in 1985, more than 55,000 percussionists have attended the camps across the country.
“It really gives the kids and the teachers a head start in making sure they have the skills they need going forward,” said Justen Seay, the academic coordinator for fine and performing arts at DPS.
Seay said the extra development opportunity meshes with the district’s renewed push to expand music education.
“We are up and moving with our bands and they’re beginning to grow,” said Seay of the resurgence of performance classes at DPS schools. “Now we’re to the point where we need to begin to add community pieces (such as this camp).”
The camp is taught by renowned percussionist Lamar Burkhalter, a music director for the NFL Houston Texans’ “Deep Steel Thunder” and founder/executive director of a non-profit educational program.
Kevin Miller, an upcoming senior at Stivers School for the Arts, said he was impressed by the professional-quality equipment and instruction.
“It’s a great opportunity and you shouldn’t waste it,” said Miller, 18. “You can learn new things everyday.”
Seay said, aside from the musical development, students who participate in any arts programs typically see success off of the stage.
“It helps with self-discipline, it helps with self-esteem, and it also helps with a lot of student outcomes related to academic achievement and attendance,” he explained.
Miller said the experience is inspiring him to pay it forward.
“I want to learn how to give back to the community and teach other people how to play drums,” he said.