Andrew Grueschow is a LA-based percussionist with an interest in music the world over. He has traveled to Ghana, West Africa several times, studying the music of the Ewe and Dagombas, and recorded traditional drumming for Zadonu Records. Andrew is a member of the Hands On'Semble, an award-winning percussion ensemble, and the Zadonu African Music and Dance Company, featured on the “ALI” soundtrack. He has also performed with Adam Rudolph’s “Go: Organic Orchestra”, Lian Ensemble, and Vinny Golia’s “Large Ensemble”. Andrew has performed in Germany, Brazil, Ghana, Taiwan, and throughout the U.S.
Andrew’s music workshops introduce students to the instruments, rhythms, and culture of the Ewe people in Ghana, West Africa. Students learn both simple and complex rhythm patterns that strengthen their musical perception and skill. They form a musical ensemble, incorporating traditional elements of Ghanaian culture, and basic musical concepts such as pulse, tempo, dynamics, and rhythmic patterns. The ensemble plays traditional instruments, and has the opportunity to view video excerpts of drummers and dancers from Ghana. Students are taught authentic musical signals, and may assume the role of “lead drummer” for the ensemble. Cultural aspects of music are also covered, such as geographic origins, names of instruments, and the role of music in Ghanaian society.
Sessions begin with unison playing of basic rhythmic patterns and follow with more complex patterns, such as call and response and polyrhythms. Basic dance and movement patterns are taught during the sessions. Throughout the workshop series, students reflect on what they have learned and make connections to other areas of the curriculum.
Scoring a Story:
These workshops empower students to score a selected story. Students create their own patterns, and make musical choices to create their own original music that will pair with a story at their grade level. Students work as a large group to practice ideas, and work creatively in small groups, scoring individual parts of the story. The small group work gives students a chance to engage many of the speaking and listening standards of Common Core, and as students make choices about their musical elements, they are asked to show evidence in the text of their story to drive their musical choices. All aspects of the VAPA music standards are covered, as students engage in the playing/performing of music, and the literacy of music (reading and writing their own patterns).