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Students learn music, build confidence in Lakeland hip hop drum class

Lakeland drum class Robert Boyd WFTS.png
Posted at 9:15 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 16:10:21-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — Students in Lakeland are marching to the beat of their own drums — literally — using buckets as drums. They’re part of a program that not only teaches music but life lessons.

Alvon Griffin is a classically trained musician, teaching students, who in many cases, have never performed in their life.

“Growing up in the arts you grow up hearing that every day, there are kids who go through life who never hear that,” said Griffin.

For the past 15 years, Griffin donated his time and shared his love of music with low income and at-risk youth attending Academy Prep.

“This kind of partnership is just such an outstanding example of men and women who love the communities in which they serve really working together to make the lives of our children, the educations of our children, that much more rich and powerful,” said Lincoln Tamayo, COO of the Academy Prep Foundation.

The hip hop drumming class is one of several performing arts experiences offered through the Stageworks Education Outreach program.

“We believe very strongly, and the folks at Stageworks believe very strongly, that these are kids who have tremendous talent that is just waiting to bubble up and bubble over and just explode onto this world,” said Tamayo. “It's basically nonprofits helping other nonprofits, all of us lifting each other together.”

Griffin said you don’t need expensive fancy instruments, because it’s not about the sound, it’s about the growth.

“We teach lessons along the way, how to focus, how to concentrate,” said Griffin. “It’s magic because what happens is there’s a lot of, ‘I can’t’ going around with little kids.’ It’s overwhelming to some of the children because they never heard they can.”

The students will be the first to tell you there’s nothing quite like the heart-pounding beat of a good bucket.

“In my house, I built my own drum set out of buckets and so I just play with it,” said fifth-grader Yadi Prado. “I’m proud of it.”

These middle schoolers say the class gave them the confidence to continue pursuing music into high school and beyond.

“I’d do it as a part-time job or something,” said seventh-grader Jaiden Thomas, who is interested in being in his own band someday.