Samira is standing before her peers, drumsticks in hand, nervous about what to do.
It’s Introduction Day for our Grade Eight delegates at DAREarts Toronto and the DARE of the day is “courageous participation.” Troy Sexton from Rhythm Works is there to teach them to bucket drum and is the perfect artist-as-teacher to inspire our kids to participate.
With everyone kneeling in a drum circle, Troy makes a beat on his bucket. Our students repeat it. The louder he plays, the louder the room becomes. He throws them a few curveballs by suddenly tapping really quietly, or hitting the sides of the bucket. Then he twirls his drumsticks in the air and catches them, and the students laugh in awe.
It’s clear Troy is in his element. When he was 19, he became the youngest, and only Canadian, performer in the history of STOMP. For 10 years, he toured all over the world with STOMP, and currently runs Rhythm Works in Toronto, inspiring leadership in children and adults through “their genuine positivity and love of all things rhythmical.”
Now it’s time for the “courageous participation” part. Troy picks a student from the circle and DARES them to lead the class for a few beats. Eventually, he calls on Samira.
With the spotlight on her, Samira is hesitant to improvise a tune. But with Troy’s encouragement, she takes charge and makes a unique rhythm for the rest of the class to follow. It is a classic DAREarts moment: the moment change is ignited.
After an hour of drumming, Troy asks the students how they’re feeling. Enthusiastic, energetic and exhilarated, are the responses. One simply replies: “Adrenaline!”
Reflecting on the day, Troy talks about using the arts to turn negative energy into positive energy, to channel anxieties into artistic expression. After having such an amazing time bucket drumming with Troy, it’s a message that resonates with our DAREarts kids.
At the end of the day, the spotlight is on Samira again. On behalf of the class and everyone at DAREarts, it is Samira who thanks Troy for everything he has taught them. Thank you Troy, Samira, and all of our Grade 8 students for being so courageous!
To see how else DAREarts is igniting change in Canadian youth, check out our website.