Taal Inc “Kids in Rhythm” sessions are meant to build awareness about the importance of arts & rhythm-based interventions in the lives of kids using the Djembe (A West African Percussion Instrument) Drum Circle Rhythms and other percussion instruments as a medium of learning. The sessions have been designed keeping in mind the development needs & learning capacity of children between the ages of 3 and 8 years. Varun Venkit, the Founder/Director of Taal Inc, has developed this program. He is also a published clinical psychologist, percussionist, a senior drum circle facilitator and an arts-based therapist.
Through Kids in Rhythm, we at Taal Inc., aim to focus on the application of the musical and non-musical benefits of rhythm in a child’s life to achieve higher confidence, self-assurance, expression, tolerance and intelligence, help increase concentration spans, and build sociability among the kids.
Background: Arts-based interventions with kids
Arts-based intervention or therapy (ABT) is the evidence-based use of art forms to accomplish pre-planned individualized goals for positive growth and change. The art forms of music, rhythm, visual art, creative movement, dance, storytelling and drama (theatre exercises) form the core of ABT. The use of these art forms with children has been a constant in schools, day centres and at home for many years and researchers have been documenting the effect of arts-based therapies and Creative Art Therapy interventions on children from different backgrounds and environments.
From the use of art programs with youth at risk to increase resilience and socio-emotional skills and abilities to using drumming and movement with psychological disabilities to improve social skills and behavioral problems, Art Based Therapy interventions have been successful in creating positive change and growth in children.
Our own studies show that drumming work on the parameters such as attention, retention & retrieval (memory) and motor co-ordination development. Drumming helps foster a sense of confidence and achievement by way of increased eye contact and conscious verbal expression.
Objectives of Taal Inc. Kids In Rhythm
Our main objectives at Kids in Rhythm are to help the kids:
a. Express themselves freely without fear of judgement, through new artistic mediums
b. Learn important life skills through the medium of group drumming and singing
c. Develop their understanding of pulse, tempo and rhythm as a general concept
d. Experience the benefits of group drumming
e. Feel rhythms instead of counting the rhythms
f. Learn basic body percussion concepts and its connection to movement and rhythm.
g. Build an understanding of the djembe and West-African culture: rhythms, role in society and its application or connection to India
h. Develop awareness of folk instruments of the Indian culture
What do we do in a ‘Kids in Rhythm’ session?
A ‘Kids in Rhythm’ session is a dynamic setting wherein the kids not only attend a musical activity class to learn a new hobby but most importantly can ‘be themselves’ by being a part of a Drum Group. The sessions are designed on broad objectives that are expanded over a couple of sessions. Each session has a particular takeaway that is driven in creatively using rhythm games, interactive stories, and songs.
The content used is divided into two age groups, 3-5 years and 6-8 years. The goals are only marginally different for the groups but the aim is to contribute to overall child development.
Meet Our Facilitators
The sessions are conducted by qualified and trained facilitators. These facilitators have a background in psychology and extensive experience with kids of different backgrounds.
Why is Kids in Rhythm (KIR) different?
Unlike a regular hobby or activity class, Kids in Rhythm is a place where education meets fun and is your solution to creative and musical learning.
– Other activities focus on performance – KIR focuses on expression:
At our KIR sessions, we ensure that all expression is encouraged in a non-judgmental manner. This helps us equalize the expression of an introverted child and also one of extroverted or outgoing child. Our aim is to facilitate a healthy conversation (verbal or non-verbal) between the two. This comes through a healthy balance of encouragement, leading by example and musical metaphors.
– Other activities focus on the external – KIR focuses on the internal:
Each of our sessions follows a structure like so:
a. Introduction ritual
b. Warm up / Revision of material taught in previous class(es)
c. Main activity
d. Main activity 2 (optional)
e. Reinforce main activity through a game
This structure helps us build a strong connection to values such as kindness, patience, tolerance, acceptance, honesty and joy. At the end of a three-month module it is our aim that the child has taken back something of value vis a vis these values.
– Other activities have an expectation – KIR wants to see each child be the best he or she can be through the djembe (music):
KIR sessions are not a music class where your child will learn to become a djembe player but place where your child will realize his or her true potential through the arts. The sessions focus on the fun atmosphere that art creates to facilitate the realization of, ‘Yes, I can!’ and use that very realization in other facets of life.
– Other activities make you be the best at all costs! – KIR wants you to be YOU:
Today is a world of high-pressure, especially for children. KIR sessions create a setting where there is more emphasis on collaboration and creativity than competition. This has been the strongest element of any art form; inclusiveness.
Kids in Rhythm so far…
Taal Inc ‘Kids in Rhythm’ has been functional since 2014 in Pune across different schools, day-care centres, activity centres and crèches, and has drummed with around 10,000 kids. Our modules so far have worked on building musical and expressive skills of children and most importantly, providing an open and free space for children to experience and learn values that are integral to today’s day and age.
Through ongoing observation and research, we have found that this novel and fun arts based intervention (mainly focusing on rhythm, movement, singing and their inherent interconnectedness) works upon the overall development of the child by:
• Helping the child express themselves without fear of judgement:
Develops physical, motor & coordination skills:
Builds upon the attention & concentration span:
Helps in improving their confidence and creativity & patience:
Improves communication (verbal and non-verbal):
Stimulates both the left and right brain simultaneously and hence boosts their brain-power resulting in higher academic achievement.