Philly Drum Project looks to bring kids back to basics

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At a classroom at the University of the Arts in Center City Philadelphia, a new venture is aiming to give kids access to music education.

Ryan Crump, creator of the Philly Drum Project, wants to teach drumming basics to kids. Crump has studied drums at the University of the Arts. He also has a degree in music management from the University of Delaware, where he now works in fundraising and development.

“From my music connections, I’ve been able to create a network of drummers,” said Crump, who has also worked at World Cafe Live. “The Philly Drum Project is an outlet for drummers to connect and find resources.”

Although he has hosted a monthly drumming event for adults, the “DrumPhil” event is his first workshop for students. The program’s name is a play on the musical term “drum fill,” but spells it with a “ph” to reference its Philly connection.

“A drum fill is a drumming term. Say you’re playing time, that’s the drum fill—the part in between,” Crump explained.

The workshop focuses on a variety of drumset styles, such as R&B, rock, latin and jazz. The instructors are music professors and professional drummers—like Steve McKie, who has worked with singer Jill Scott, among others.

“It’s like a home-based community,” McKie said. “I wanted to be a part of it, come down and show some stuff that I’ve learned over the years.”

Jarrett Wenzel, a student at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, said the workshop is an opportunity to learn from the best.

“It gives me a lot more connections, like I’m here with 11 other drummers that all feel the same way about the instrument as I do,” Wenzel said. “And then, it gives me a lot of knowledge, I’m studying with all these dudes that are at the top.”

Crump said his long-term goal is to find a space where the region’s drummers can gather to share resources and offer lessons for students.

“The goal is eventually to have a space, sort of like a drum shop, but as a collective,” Crump said.

Visit Philly Drum Project to learn more.

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