Traeger Primary students in Oshkosh learn about Ghanaian culture


OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Students at Traeger Elementary School in Oshkosh had the chance to let off steam while learning about a culture native to far from home.

Mark Powers, a world-renowned percussionist, presented a hands-on approach to teaching African drumming and Ghanaian culture during a three-day tour. The program is called “The Sights and Sounds of Ghana”, which teaches a variety of rhythms from the Ewe people, particularly in the southeastern region of Ghana.

Instruments and a book in a classroom at Traeger Elementary School in Oshkosh during ‘The Sights and Sounds of Ghana’ program.

In the program, students from kindergarten to grade 5 were able to learn several rhythms through a variety of instruments, as well as practice some traditional dance moves.

Powers says the main goal is to allow young children to be more exposed to different cultures in a unique and fun way.

“I also think it’s really important to introduce students to music from any culture at any time and just encourage music in general because music can be – very different for different people, that genre meaning has a different meaning in different people’s lives,” Powers explained. .

Seeing the students flourish with the ability to use music and dance is one of the highlights.

“You put a few drums in front of the students, you know, especially kindergarten through 50, they’re always going to have a blast — and they walk into the room and their eyes light up when they see what they’re getting into,” he added. .

  • Photo of students from Traeger Elementary School in Oshkosh playing drums
  • Photo of drums in
  • A music room sign at Traeger Elementary School in Oshkosh.

Powers says using drums in this way sometimes opens kids up to music.

“I think hand drums are really great because – it’s the kind of thing where you don’t have to develop a bunch of techniques to sound good and play rhythms that make you feel good in what you create,” Powers explained.

“I can’t do much here in Oshkosh, so bring people who have been to various parts of the world and bring that right here to [students] in Oshkosh, I think it’s an experience they’ll never forget,” said Jen Schmidt, Elementary Music Specialist for the Oshkosh Area School District.

On average, Powers says he usually visits Traeger Elementary about every three years.


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