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Cajons Unlock everyone's potential!

21 April 2011

Move over Beatles and Rolling Stones, for a group that really rocks, look no further than Sylvanvale's percussion workshop for adults with disabilities!

The windows rattled and doors shook as the strong drum beats and groovy tunes reverberated through the Engadine Community Centre. When the music stopped it was followed by cheers and laughter of Sylvanvale's Day Program men and women who were part of a six week drumming workshop.

Day Program Site Manager Sue Popplewell introduced the workshop after experiencing a lively and exciting drumming session at the 2010 SPARK Creative Arts Festival. "The drumming workshop at the festival was really memorable," said Sue. She contacted Assessible Arts, who put her in touch with Claudia Chambers of Learn Cajon. As luck would have it, the Engadine Community Centre had also just offered Sue some space to use which was perfect for drumming classes. "That meant the group could drum to their hearts content and make as much noise as possible." According to Sue, the group of 11 including Victor, Julie, James, Rhonda, Rodney, Judy, Caanan, Janelle, Karen, Ingrid and Jenny were into the classes right from the start. "They absolutely loved it and looked forward to every session."

Claudia thoroughly enjoyed teaching the group and agreed that everyone loved each workshop, and as their confidence developed, they got even more involved. "As the weeks progressed, the guys relaxed, played more and participated further overall in different ways - whether by contributing a beat, doing a solo, getting up to dance," says Claudia. Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic and happily swapped instruments so they each had a chance to try something new. Claudia said that the "drums were without a doubt the favourite instrument, but the cymbal was a hit too!"

The group also enjoyed the sounds the instruments produced such as the loud, fun drum beats and the softer more atmospheric pieces including the shakers and wind makers.

"Music is such a creative outlet for expression and it's brilliant because there is no wrong or right way to participate," said Sue. "Drumming allows people to be individuals and express themselves in their own way through music, movement or art uncovers talent we never knew existed and they never knew they had," said Sue. And by the sound of the drumming workshops, Sylvanvale has some pretty impressive musicians. Day Program participant Rhonda was part of the group and when her parents from Queensland were visiting her they went along to one of the drumming workshops. "Rhonda is 50 and this is the first time we've seen her perform and be so outgoing," Mr and Mrs Quill said. "We love the opportunities that Sylvanvale provide, such as these drumming sessions." Rhonda was a huge fan of the workshops and summed them up succinctly for everyone, "It was great!" she exclaimed.

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