From a Memphis Sound press release: The Memphis Youth Performing Arts Association (MYPAA), parent organization of Memphis Sound, is launching a new program called D.R.U.M. The acronym stands for Discipline, Respect & Unity in Memphis. The program is being launched this spring in partnership with the City of Memphis Parks Services Division. All kids love drums, regardless of demographics or economic situations. The sight, the sound, the power, and the feel are tremendous motivators for many students. When played in ensemble, drums require the discipline of the participants to work together. The payoff is immediate: A dynamic, forceful, expressive sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. MYPAA's D.R.U.M. program will be piloted this spring in the Hickory Hill and Lester Community Centers, two Memphis community centers in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. The program will be conducted during after-school hours and facilitated by corps director, Trey Moore. "I'm a drummer, not a percussionist," says Moore. "Believe me, I know the difference. But I love drums and I love kids. I can't contribute much in the way of instruction to our drum line. But I can certainly facilitate young kids who just want to be a part of something fun and positive. It gives me a break from my administrative duties." Students in D.R.U.M. will be between the ages of 9 and 13, and will not need previous music experience to participate and benefit. Based on the growing drum circle phenomenon, D.R.U.M. will stress the importance of teamwork and self-discipline as the members learn interactive percussive rhythms. Participants will be expected to show good behavior and attention to stay in the group. There will be unlimited potential for experience in rhythm, ensemble, movement, improvisation, meter and timbre. The ensemble setting will also provide a valuable social experience for kids who have a need to "belong." Several drum corps have affiliations with similar programs. The Memphis Youth Performing Arts Association received inspiration from Impulse's "Rhythm Regiment" and Phantom's "Drums For All" program. MYPAA is using resources from various authors and drum circle facilitators including Jim Greiner, Robert Lawrence Friedman and Jim Solomon. "Our long-term goal is to grow this program by training university music students to facilitate D.R.U.M. programs in multiple centers across the city of Memphis," says Moore. "Members of Memphis Sound are mainly from suburban neighborhoods and rural areas. This gives us a tangible way to impact our local, urban community."
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