For the past couple of months, the hallways around CRP have been a bit, how shall we say it—noisier. Kids sitting around drum circles banging away with all their might. But we’re not complaining.
Zaid, our volunteer music instructor sits at the head of that circle. His long hair and ripped jeans betray the fact he used to play in a Jordanian orchestra. A Jordanian by birth, (his mother is from Louisiana, his father from Jordan,) he attended college as a music major in Louisiana and spent eight years in the U.S. before returning to Jordan about a year ago. Although he’s always known he wanted to be a musician, he didn’t even own a drum set before attending college.
Music is something tangible. Not like math or history, we see music being played right in front of us. We can reach out and touch it. Which is what Zaid hopes kids get from his time here.
“It’s bringing people together, bringing students together, and hopefully in the future when they get more serious about it, they could really start something. Start a band, start a percussion ensemble, start something they can be proud of,” says Zaid. “This really exercises their brain. It also benefits other people, making them happy, and making their parents happy seeing them drum like that.”
Creative outlets are important for any child, but especially so for refugee children who may miss school and who have a lot of stress from displacement and uncertainty in their lives. In the drumming circle, Zaid also teaches them to work in unison. Many children at CRP are shy and withdrawn. Being part of a team of drummers, even just for an hour, helps them to feel more comfortable in a crowd and trust each other as they all keep the beat together.
Zaid won’t have to wait long for his dream for these budding musicians. After the lesson was over, the energetic kids rushed out of CRP’s Community and Family Resource Center, yelling in unison what Zaid had been teaching them: “bump, da na na na, bump bump!”