Barnet School Feels the Beat

Barnet Drumming ThumbnailBARNET- If you walk by the gymnasium at the Barnet School on a typical day, you might hear kids laughing, gym teacher Eric Bogie running an activity, or the cafeteria workers prepping for lunch. But this week, you might hear something different. Loud banging, shouting in a foreign language, and if you're lucky, some pretty interesting music.

"We're doing a 5-day Taiko residency, teaching Taiko-Japanese drumming, and I'm using some Japanese Petigachi techniques," said Sensei Stuart Paton, Burlington Taiko teacher.

Paton was born in Connecticut, and grew up in Tokyo. He went to Japanese public school until fourth grade, and then went into bi-lingual, Western-style education after that. He has been teaching Taiko for over 30 years, and has seen the value it brings to students and teachers.

"I think it's valuable for the kids to learn another movement style, and this is another movement style, another musical style. I think it's also valuable for the teachers as well to see another teaching style. Some of the tricks that I use then get harvested by teachers at different schools, and get used in their classrooms after I leave."

The Barnet School brought in Paton to help increase cultural diversity. They wanted to expose students to someone who could teach them about another culture.

"I think there's been curiosity and there's been enthusiasm. There's also been confusion. I believe there's a lot of enthusiasm about the drumming. I've been introducing my Japanese teaching styles as well. And so we're working on some Japanese etiquette," said Paton.

"We say the rhythms and then we actually hit it. We have a little group first and we go off and do it," said fourth grader Everett Perkins. "It's fun because we can like beat on the drums as hard as we can. He lets us do that."

And while it might be difficult for the students to pick up the technique, they are certainly enjoying themselves while doing it.

The students will perform what they learned this week during their concert this Friday at 6 p.m.