Based on decades of experience as an Artist in Education, I have crafted the services listed below to enhance any curriculum at any level, Elementary through University, also including training for professional musicians and dancers, and continuing into team building and personal growth. Where appropriate, some of the offerings have extensive documentation with respect to their direct correspondence to the National Teaching and Learning Standards. Each selection of the Rhythm Gym Series is designed to complement the others in the Series, and so sessions can be programmed for a singe group sequentially from day to day, or week to week. Alternatively, in the span of a day or two, several consituencies can be served in a given community. All of the concepts, descriptions, and specific terminology throughout this site are the intellectual property of Steve Bloom, copyright 2009.
Flying Carpet Rhythm GymThe Flying Carpet Rhythm Gym was originally designed for children from K-3rd grade, whose inhibitions have not yet diminished their capacity for fantasy play, and whose…more
Timerider Rhythm Gym[World Rhythms Decoded is now called Timerider RG] This progressive series of 45 minute workshops, suitable for accomplished players and recommended for beginners and dancers, is…more
A Rhythm Runs Through It Rhythm GymThis workshop is designed to enable and exploit the body’s flowing gracefulness by tapping our own natural musicality. We will progress from a warm-up with synchronous…more
Combinations in LatinIn this participatory program, Ramon Gonzales brings a master musician’s touch to an array of Latin American instruments, including Puerto Rican quatro, flute, charango and guitar,…more
Pavilion 3: A Participatory PanoplyThis performance/workshop features Steve Bloom on drum set, hand drums and accessory percussion; with Karen Ashbrook on Irish flute and hammered dulcimer: and Belgian multi-instrumentalist Paul…more
Playing Persian RhythmsThis is conceived as the introductory session of a series of progressive workshops in the playing technique of the emblematic Persian drums (daf and tombak). It…more
Polyrhythmic Tub Drubbing with Steve BloomDrumstick games and jams on paint buckets. Workshop for anyone ages 10-99 Also recommended for Team building and family-friendly festivals and other occasions The co-director of…more
The Havana Select Drum Summit ProgramSteve Bloom, Director After an initial solo in which Bloom first describes and then models the optimal listening behavior, the duo of drummers at the core…more
Flying Carpet Rhythm Gym
The Flying Carpet Rhythm Gym was originally designed for children from K-3rd grade, whose inhibitions have not yet diminished their capacity for fantasy play, and whose stage of brain development allows for the suspension of mundane reality.
Using the movements required to “control and fly our magic carpets,” we’ll warm-up to exotic polyrhythmic recordings with coordinated breathing, stretching and cross-lateral movements. Identifying instruments by their sound, we’ll “sensory-integrate” within the music, physically and vocally mimicking its rhythmic patterns, then rapidly count out the primary rhythms, challenging the left brain with audiation play. This is a great program for a group of 30 children. Back to back shows could be arranged.
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Timerider Rhythm Gym
[World Rhythms Decoded is now called Timerider RG]
This progressive series of 45 minute workshops, suitable for accomplished players and recommended for beginners and dancers, is designed to accelerate musical mastery by enabling, and tapping the body’s own natural musicality. Ability to read music notation is helpful but not necessary.
Driven by selected polyrhythmic music, the group will warm-up with synchronous mild breathing, stretching and stepping patterns. To further internalize, “physicalize” key rhythms, we’ll mimic the recorded voices and instruments vocally and gesturally, and do subtle, specific movements and shifts of body weight that best express the anchor rhythms in the music.
Next, we’ll harness the genius of “child’s play” for mimicry, parroting things in the recorded hand-drummers’ styles, like timbre, time, meter, tempo, pitch, and attack. We’ll “look over the masters’ shoulders” at their skillcraft: choices like a stroke’s force, the pitch and the yaw of the hand…how they express humor, elegance, technique, and the schema of themes and their variations.
We’ll practice locking into the physical feeling of a groove we hear, then turning loose the left brain, rapidly breaking the groove down, counting out its primary parts.This will hone and whet our skills for the role of accompanist, whatever the instrument! Throughout, hand drums can be used for demonstrations. Dress light, eat light. Bring a blanket or yoga mat.
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A Rhythm Runs Through It Rhythm Gym
This workshop is designed to enable and exploit the body’s flowing gracefulness by tapping our own natural musicality. We will progress from a warm-up with synchronous mild breathing, stretching and stepping patterns driven by selected polyrhythmic music. To further internalize key rhythms, we’ll mimic the recorded voices and instruments vocally and gesturally, and do simple, specific physical movements and shifts of body weight that best express the anchor rhythms in the music. The music calls through it, and the Spirit responds through it— and IT is the body.
Sufi hand drums may be used for demonstration. Dress light, eat light, and avoid caffeine prior to the session. Bring a blanket or yoga mat.
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Combinations in Latin
In this participatory program, Ramon Gonzales brings a master musician’s touch to an array of Latin American instruments, including Puerto Rican quatro, flute, charango and guitar, in the playing of selections from several South American cultures. Interspersed throughout the program (which also features veteran Steve Bloom on hand drums and an array of accessory percussion) are brief explanations, with reinforcing visual aids, of musical terms and of how the various sounds are produced.
Various kinds of cooperation are emphasized, especially its importance in making live music, also in listening to it as an audience member. Children are invited to participate, with “hands on” in a call- and- response percussion segment.
This program can be bi-lingual, (Spanish and English) where appropriate.
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Pavilion 3: A Participatory Panoply
This performance/workshop features Steve Bloom on drum set, hand drums and accessory percussion; with Karen Ashbrook on Irish flute and hammered dulcimer: and Belgian multi-instrumentalist Paul Oorts. Ashbrook and Oorts met in 1995, and their musical partnership culminated in marriage. Paul and Karen have several recordings on the Maggie’s Music record label, and they now tour and record together with Bloom. Performing on an array of instruments, also including accordion, harp- guitar, Irish flute and pennywhistle, and vocals, the artists briefly explain how the various sounds are produced.
Various kinds of cooperation are emphasized throughout this participatory program, especially its importance in making live music, as well as in listening to it.
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Playing Persian Rhythms
This is conceived as the introductory session of a series of progressive workshops in the playing technique of the emblematic Persian drums (daf and tombak). It also stands alone well as a presentation for high school and university level music departments. As was true during the heyday of El- Andalus in the 1st and 2nd Centuries, both Persian and Arabic percussion stylings are currently rampant in many various modern music fusions.
Though surrounded by Arab cultures, and Israel, the culture of Iran is very distinct unto itself. The music of Iran uses rhythms, rhythmic templates, and ornamentation that are equally distinctive; however, in large part they are easily transferable to fruitful uses within Western music. This class will play, and also explore some of these possibilities. While we will be offering inexpensive workbooks with most of the primary Persian Rhythms written in standard “western” notation, music reading skill is not necessary for this class. Intermediate or advanced hand- to- hand coordination will be most useful, however. Much context-- cultural and artistic-- will be included.
For advanced students of World Musics, especially Percussion:
Within the SAMA Ensemble performance residency package, Bloom team-teaches professional- and university-level seminars with SAMA founder, Dr. Ali Reza Analouei. The work and style of Iran’s late Master of Tombak, Ostad Jahangeer Malek deeply informs Ali’s playing. His teaching is firmly rooted in the work of Ostad Hosain Tehrani, enriched by some of the contributions of Ostad Malek, Ostad Muhammad Esmaili, and Bahman Rajabi. The styles, tablature, and techniques of these and other major modern Tombak Masters are explored each in their own right, and contrasted with each other in this overview, complete with extensive written, audio and video documentation.
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Polyrhythmic Tub Drubbing with Steve Bloom
Drumstick games and jams on paint buckets.
Workshop for anyone ages 10-99
Also recommended for Team building and family-friendly festivals and other occasions
The co-director of SAMA (an ensemble performing Persian Sufi percussion and poetry that performed in Bangor at the 2008 American Folk Festival). Bloom is also the Director of Havana Select, an ensemble of drummers, singers, and dancers performing Afro-Cuban folkloric music and dance.
Since 1969, has collaborated in thousands of recording and performance dates on percussion and congas throughout the world, with an extensive roster of artists, including Tito Puente and Babatunde Olatunji. Bloom draws upon this range of experience in designing this rhythm and drumming workshop. Bloom’s progressive approach uses “nesting” rhythms, like those often found in Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music, the Caribbean, and of course in West Africa. They lend themselves to call- and- response and other games, and also to easy mastery by the musical novice. Whether you are destined for the concert stage or the drum circle, or have some talent and want to know if drumming is for you, try this workshop!
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The Havana Select Drum Summit Program
Steve Bloom, Director
After an initial solo in which Bloom first describes and then models the optimal listening behavior, the duo of drummers at the core of Havana Select perform short suites on a wide variety of percussion instruments. A definition of percussion is given and the instruments’ origins and sonic properties are discussed, in a dynamic way. Following a segment exploring the modern drum set in its application to jazz, Samba and Cuban dance rhythms, audiences are challenged to further modes of cooperation with interspersed vocal calls-and-responses, and rhythm games.
During the program, students will learn how to distinguish: the distinctive resonance of each instrument, thus incorporating physics; the differences among various rhythms, incorporating mathematics; the importance of “clave,” the common structure within the rhythms, incorporating sensory integration. They will know that Cuba is an island and that Florida is a peninsula, and their geographic relationship. Catalyzing a spectrum of cooperation between audience and performers throughout, and also between the performers in the music-making and narratives, the program’s highly participatory design fosters enhanced social skills. The bi-lingual option incorporates verbal skills.
This program fulfills the following DCPS Content Standards: Visual Arts, #’s 1, 3, 4;
Music, #’s 4, 5, 6; Health and Physical Education, # 3; History, #’s 3, 6
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