Drumming in Class

Jin-May is dying to learn to play the drums. She loves rhythm and the sound of a good beat.

Jin-May loves rhythm so much that she can’t sit still. All day long she taps a beat. She pats her desk, thumps on her books, and taps her feet.

Jin-May notices that she’s not the only one tapping in class. Mr. Lopez is standing in front of her desk with his arms crossed, tapping one foot.

“Jin-May, give it a rest,” he tells her, giving her a stern look.

A rest? Why didn’t Jin-May think of that before? She taps out a new rhythm on her desk with her fingertips.

Tap, rest, tap, tap.

Tap, tap, rest, tap, tap.

Not bad, she likes this new rhythm!

“Enough, Jin-May, you’re distracting your classmates--not to mention your teacher,” says Mr. Lopez. “Be quiet.”

Jin-May sits on her hands to keep them still.

The next day Mr. Lopez has a surprise for Jin-May. He brings a drum called a darbuka to class.

He shows them how to play it using just one finger, four fingers at once, and the palm of his hand.

He shows them how they can create different sounds by tapping in the center of the drum or against the edge. Then he gives everyone a turn to try it.

Jin-May loves the darbuka. She finds that once she starts drumming, she just can’t stop. Only this time, Mr. Lopez doesn’t stop her either.

Tap, rest, tap, tap.

Tap, tap, rest, tap, tap.

The class begins to dance to the rhythm she creates.

“Go, Jin-May, go,” they say.

Jin-May drums until her fingers are numb and it is time for lunch. She can’t remember ever being happier.