Artists in Schools Directory

   

Craig Woodson

Artist's Narrative

Craig Woodson Dr. Craig Woodson brings a wealth of knowledge about world music to his fun-filled performances in which he invites the audience join in the process of discovery. He has presented assemblies, workshops, and play-along concerts to over 350,000 K-9 students over the past 30 years across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Dr. Woodson was a featured artist in a NASA video about music and space travel and has written a Teacher's Guide with CDs called The Roots of Rhythm: World Drumming for All Ages for the Percussion Marketing Council in conjunction with the International House of Blues Foundation. Bringing together the disciplines of music, art, science, history and math, he makes simple musical instruments based on ideas from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. His artistic objective is to design simple musical instruments from around the world; his goal is to have young people, their teachers and parents use them to perform music and, in the process, gain a better understanding of the Earth's diverse cultures through music. In addition to Artists-in-Schools, Dr. Woodson is also on the teaching artist roster of L.A. County Arts for All, UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance, The Music Center (California), and the Segestrom Center for the Arts (California). Dr. Woodson has a Ph.D. in music from UCLA with a specialization in ethnomusicology, the study of world music.

Video
Promotional video for Dr. Craig Woodson, produced for the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA's Design for Sharing program.

Can't access YouTube at your school? View the video on SchoolTube here.




Recent Feedback From Schools


Craig has been a wonderful help this year - not just for his visit last week but throughout the year as I implemented his curriculum. He is quick to respond to e-mails, answer questions, and offer any help that I needed to prepare my students for his visit. Because I used Craig's curriculum, my students already knew of Craig and a little bit about his background. They were SO excited to meet him, and are still talking about how fun his assembly was. I know that the classes that had a chance to drum with Craig later in the day were thrilled. It was such a treat! My students LOVED him and are already asking to have him back again!

Availability

Upon request.
Fees listed are for Columbus-area schools. This artist is based near Cleveland.

Programs Available

"A World Orchestra You Can Build" Assembly (Grade levels K-9)

Dr. Woodson uses simple tools and materials to build twelve easy-to-make musical instruments based on children's ideas from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. He begins by having the audience try four body sounds that represent the musical families, like a cheek drum and a hair plucker. Then he assembles homemade versions of folk instruments like a coat hanger harp, a garden hose slide whistle, a bobby pin kalimba, and a picture frame drum. By assembly's end Dr. Woodson has children and teachers on stage, performing as a World Orchestra in a fun-filled improvisation.

Activity Options:
A World Orchestra
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $645 / $895 for two back-to-back. There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: Stage or performing area 8' x 25', and if possible, PA system with mic on a stand.

Drum Lessons from Around the World (Grade levels K-9)

This world drumming program is an entertaining, educational assembly showing the lessons one can learn about music, science, history, and world cultures by studying many types of drums as Dr. Woodson has done for over 40 years. He demonstrates, for example, a lion's roar, a drum that needs gum, a talking drum, an Arabic square drum that students can make with packing tape, rock drumming, hearing protection, and the very fast, buzz roll on a snare drum that got him interested in drumming in the fourth grade. The program shows many of the instruments that he wrote about in his Teacher's Guide, Roots of Rhythm.

The Percussion Marketing Council has funding support available for schools that would like to book this assembly in conjunction with an in-service program for teachers.  Schools selecting this option will receive a $250 discount on the assembly, and the in-service for only a materials fee. The teacher workshop is available as a 60 minute or 90 minute in-service. The materials fees is $5.00 per person for the 60 minute workshop and $7.50 per person for the 90 minute workshop.
 

The Roots of Rhythm in-service is designed to give teachers tools to help students find connections in their own lives to children in other cultures through stories connected to drums, drumming and rhythms from around the world. A goal is to have teachers experience the value of studying world drumming and rhythms. Dr. Woodson models these rhythms including speech (African talking drum), layered (Asian gamelan), and human (Lakota heartbeat drum). This generates inquiry into the related arts of dance or visual arts. Cooperative learning results when teachers fit individual drum rhythms together within a particular ensemble tradition. Non-musical teachers learn to write rhythmic and tonal patterns in the fill-in box system.

Teachers learn about an individual country and culture then make and decorate age-appropriate instruments that represent idiophonic and/or membrane families, using simple tool and materials. Teachers receive Dr. Woodson's detailed instrument-making notes as a rubric for assessing the quality of work. Participants make instruments using these grade-appropriate steps, tools and materials that do not require special skills. Sound production comes from common items like plastic cups, coffee cans, wood, hoops, and packing tape. His Roots of Rhythm Teacher's Guide includes the cultural and historical context (VAPA 3.0) of each instrument, and its country of origin including its flag, geography, population, and climate.

Educators will reflect on how their in-service tasks of performing, composing and making instruments can connect to teaching other subjects such as art, math, science, social studies, or language arts. The combination of performing music, along with making an instrument and composing provides rich connections to many other disciplines. For example, the craft of instrument making explores both art and science. Measurements while tuning a xylophone form a lesson in mathematical relationships to nodes. Teachers learn that pushing air out of a box drum creates a partial vacuum, thereby reducing sound. Stories about the social context of 'talking drums' generate inquiry into language and cultural heritage.

Activity Options:
Drum Lessons: Assembly Only
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $645/ $895 for two back-to-back. There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: Stage or performing area 8' x 25', and if possible, PA system with mic on a stand.
Drum Lessons: Assembly and Roots of Rhythm Teacher Workshop
  • Duration: 50 min. assembly and 60 or 90 min. teacher workshop
  • Fees: $395 plus materials ($5.00 or $7.50/teacher). There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: Assembly and workshop must be scheduled on the same day.

Adowa: An African Drumming and Dance Experience from Ghana (Grade levels K-9)

This exciting and educational assembly brings students a hands-on experience with African culture. The audience learns how Adowa drums are made, how they are used in ceremonies today for communication, the meaning of dance motions, background on the Asante people, and how Ghanaian children perform this music. With guest artist, Olugbala Manns, Dr. Woodson joins African and American approaches for learning music from another culture. His life-long study of this music includes over three years in Ghana, West Africa, where as an invited researcher, he assisted in making African instruments for Ghanaian schools.

Activity Options:
Adowa
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $795 / $1,145 for two back-to-back. There is an additional $200 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: Stage or performing area 8' x 25', and PA system if possible.

To Mars with Music in 2030 (Grade levels K-9)

In his newest program, Dr. Woodson shows how we might find musical instruments on a trip to Mars in the year 2030. Based on his participation in a NASA video, Window to Mars, he takes the audience into the adventure of space travel, making instruments along the way by recycling objects in the spaceship and later combining these items with materials on Mars. Volunteers from the audience help him demonstrate his ideas, such as a fire extinguisher bell, food container violin, clay pressure drum, and bamboo horn. The NASA video, which features Dr. Woodson, shows how we might take musical instruments to Mars on a future trip, and it is available to the school for free with the assembly.

Activity Options:
To Mars with Music
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $645 / $895 for two back-to-back. There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: Stage or performing area 8' x 25', and PA system if possible.

Student Instrument-Making Workshop (Grade levels K-9)

Under Dr. Woodson's entertaining direction, each student makes a grade-appropriate instrument, converting common items into instruments, the way children do in other countries. During the construction process, students decorate their instrument, compose and perform music, and some even conduct their own music with their "classroom orchestra." Students in the lower grades make a set of sounds, representing combinations in one "composite." One favorite of this type is the "Drumpet," a drum and trumpet combination; the "Drumpetar" adds a guitar sound. Upper grades usually focus on one particular sound family and culture, for example, a Native American frame drum or an Asian bowed lute. Teachers with or without a musical background learn practical activities for immediate classroom use.

Without other events, there is a minimum of three workshops required per day.

Activity Options:
Instrument-Making Workshop (with other events)
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $165 plus $2.50/ student for materials. There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
Instrument-Making Workshop (stand alone)
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $645/ three workshops, plus $2.50/ student for materials. There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.
  • Requirements: One teacher/ parent for every ten students; two 6' tables, dry-erase or other writing board, and if possible a small PA system; an area where sound is not a problem. 60 students max.

Roots of Rhythm In-Service Workshop (Teachers of grade levels K-9)

The Roots of Rhythm in-service workshop is designed to give teachers tools to help students find connections in their own lives to children in other cultures through stories connected to drums, drumming and rhythms from around the world. A key objective is to have teachers experience the value of studying world drumming and rhythms. Dr. Woodson models these rhythms including speech (African talking drum), layered (Asian gamelan), and human (Lakota heartbeat drum). This generates inquiry into the related arts of dance or visual arts. Cooperative learning results when teachers fit individual drum rhythms together within a particular ensemble tradition. Non-music teachers learn to write rhythmic and tonal patterns in the fill-in box system.

Teachers learn about an individual country and culture then make and decorate age-appropriate instruments that represent idiophonic and/or membranophonic families, using simple tools and materials. Teachers receive Dr. Woodson's detailed instrument-making notes as a rubric for assessing the quality of work. Participants make instruments using these grade-appropriate steps, tools and materials that do not require special skills. Sound production comes from common items like plastic cups, coffee cans, wood, hoops, and packing tape. His Roots of Rhythm Teacher's Guide includes the cultural and historical context (VAPA 3.0) of each instrument, and its country of origin including its flag, geography, population, and climate.

Educators will reflect on how their in-service tasks of performing, composing and making instruments can connect to teaching other subjects such as art, math, science, social studies, or language arts. The combination of composing and performing music, along with making an instrument and composing provides rich connections to many other disciplines. For example, the craft of instrument making explores both art and science. Measurements while tuning a xylophone form a lesson in mathematical relationships to nodes. Teachers learn that pushing air out of a box drum creates a partial vacuum, thereby reducing sound. Stories about the social context of 'talking drums' generate inquiry into language and cultural heritage.

Activity Options:
In-Service Workshop
  • Duration: 60 min. or 90 min.
  • Fees: $395 plus materials ($5.00 for the 60 min. program and $7.50 for the 90 min. program.) There is an additional $100 overnight fee for any booking before 10 a.m.

Hands-On Residency (Grade levels K-9)

This experience brings a combination of Dr. Woodson's programs into a school for one day or more. The residency's theme will be based on one of his assemblies in conjunction with teachers' needs. The opening assembly is followed by instrument-making workshops for each participating class and one or more culmination assemblies at the end. A teacher in-service is suggested, but not required.

A residency can last from one day to one week or more, depending on the number of students and types of activities required. In all versions of a residency, there are four events per day, and each event lasts 50 minutes.

Example residency for 300 students:
Two days with four events per day: two assemblies and six student workshops. Fee: $2,880 ($895 for 2 assemblies, $990 for 6 workshops, $750 for materials, $225 for 2 motel nights and per diem.)

Activity Options:
Hands-On Residency
  • Duration: one day - one week
  • Fees: Contact for pricing.
  • Requirements: Students sit on floor; blackboard, CD player, if possible a small PA with microphone and stand.