Hello, my name is Gary Gardner. As the facilitator of the Pacoima Charter School Percussion Ensemble, I have had the pleasure of teaching many fine children and learn of their many hidden talents.
Initially the ensemble was constructed to aid those students who found it difficult to feel comfortable in social situations with their peers as well as those who struggled to show emotion. Students who participated ranged from grades 1st through 5th. Music, rhythm, was the key unifying theme. In a closed environment and playing percussion everyone was on the same starting line. There was no room to hide. Plus, the students knew it was ok to make a mistake because we just keep trying. Some of them have continued to play in the ensemble. Most of this ensemble has a new, greater self-esteem, and outlook on themselves.
The ensemble has changed and now focuses more on the actual playing of musical rhythms and percussion technique. I’m confident to say that most found new success in their own musical capabilities. The ensemble enriched their knowledge about world cultures, social interaction and working together. Most importantly the children practiced routine and understood that you have to have patience to attain better performance skills. The musical experience also translated into better focus and perseverance for the children in their general academics.