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Residency Programs

Fonziba’s creativity and teaching skills are never more apparent than during her residency programs. As she meets with individual classes, Fonziba provides each student with an authentic, West African, jembe hand-drum. Students are thrilled to play the drums and discover how much fun it is to make music the “tribal way.” Fonziba usually meets with six to eight classes per day and classes last anywhere from forty-sixty minutes, although shorter classes are possible. She adjusts classes for each age group.

Before each residency, Fonziba sends her lively documentary, “Gifts from Mother Africa”, for all the students to watch before she arrives. This video follows Fonziba on her journey to West Africa in 2003, where she studied with a master drummer and played with his drum troupe at weddings. During her stay, Fonziba lived with the master drummer's family, which gave her the special opportunity to film many aspects of daily life in a typical African home as well as the drumming at weddings. Students simply love this video and it gives a good cultural background for the residency.

Fonziba also brings her “African Home Display.” This display contains many things used in a typical African home for cooking, eating, cleaning, washing, sitting and sleeping. The “Gifts from Mother Africa” video explains each item. The display is placed in a public spot in the school so that classes can take turns viewing it. Students are encouraged to play with the display contents, especially the grain crusher, which students are anxious to try after seeing it in the video.

Under Fonziba’s expert teaching,
students gain significant benefits:

Releasing Stress, Frustration and Pent-Up Energy. Fonziba starts each drumming session with fun, rhythmic games that allow students to loosen up, beating the drums to their hearts content.

Increasing Self Confidence. Unlike most musical instruments, jembe drums are easy to play. Students quickly learn the different drum strokes and within minutes progress from simple to more complex rhythms. Core groups perform with Fonziba for the entire school, a great self-esteem builder, especially for students who don’t excel in other areas.

Building Teamwork and Community. Every class learns an African polyrhythm composed of two-five distinct rhythms played simultaneously. Each class is divided into sections which play these different rhythms, much like a drum orchestra. Each section must learn to play together while at the same time play in harmony with the other sections.

Developing Leadership Skills. Students take turns leading
the rhythmic games at the beginning of each class and various students are chosen to lead the separate sections of the African polyrhythm.

Improving Coordination, Concentration and Recall. When Fonziba plays her “copy-cat” game, she plays simple, rhythmic patterns that students then attempt to repeat. In addition, each African rhythm that Fonziba introduces starts out with a series of “call and response” patterns.

Increasing Creativity and Self-Expression. Drumming is a powerful tool to help students connect to their inner core of creativity and express from that level. Students are given time to create and play their own rhythm solos and copy-cat rhythmic patterns. Core groups often create their own African-style class rhythm.

Enlivening Energy and Having Fun. Drumming in a group
is extremely exhilarating for students of all ages.

Developing Respect for Other Cultures and a Sense of World Citizenship. Fonziba leads a lively question-and-answer period with each class based on her documentary video that helps students compare the everyday aspects of African culture with their own.

Students also enjoy exploring Fonziba’s “African Home Display”. The video and display help students become aware that human beings all over the world have the same basic needs, though they may go about fulfilling those needs in diverse ways. Students gain a sense of connectedness with other cultures, realizing that our commonalities and shared life experiences far outweigh our differences.

Residency Fees

One-Day Residency: $500 (plus travel expenses)*

One-Day Residency with Assembly: $650 (plus travel)*

In the one-day residency with assembly, Fonziba works with one to two classes of students and performs with them for the entire school. She also meets with additional classes as time allows.

Longer Residencies: $500 the first day, $350 each
additional day, or $1,800 per week (plus travel expenses)*

Longer residencies allow Fonziba to meet with more classes. A longer residency can include more activities, such as African dance, cooking or drum tuning for a fuller cultural experience. If desired, Fonziba will meet with one or several core groups each day to prepare for an all-school performance at the end of the residency which can include a core group in African dance.

* Fonsiba can tailor her residency programs to fit your school’s needs and budget.

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