Fourth-grader Yandeliz Rodriguez-Gonzalez confessed this week before the Berkowitz School Winter Concert that
drumming is just in her blood.
Her father is a drummer, often playing the bongos around the house, and the rhythm has rubbed off on her as well.
So when her school began offering the Drum Corps, she signed up immediately two years ago and hasn’t stopped keeping the beat since.
“I love the salsa rhythm; it’s just in my blood,” said Yandy. “I got inspired to play the drums from my dad because he is a drummer. My dad is Puerto Rican and he’s been playing the drums since he was little. He has taught me the salsa rhythm and I have enjoyed playing at school now too. It feels great to play with others. They are with me and understand me and understand why I’m so obsessed with drums.”
Yandy is one of about 15 young people that participate in the Berkowitz Advanced Drummers (or B.A.D. for short) , a program championed by Berkowitz music teacher Richard Romanoff to help bring instrumental music experiences to the children.
Beyond the drumming, kids are able to also play keyboards, violin or ukulele.
“The drumming group has been a very positive experience and has become very popular with the students here,” he said. “I’m just trying to open up opportunities for students and give them as many opportunities as I can to help them make music.”
Romanoff came to the Berkowitz three years ago, and Principal Adam Deleidi said he had been at Somerville High School for 11 years prior. However, he wanted to experience how younger kids seek musical experiences, which drew him to the Berkowitz.
“He’s done a lot with instruments and the drumming group is one example of that,” he said.
Fourth-grader Daniel Booth has been involved only four weeks, but already he has found that drumming is an outlet for his creativity and also a way to better understand math – which is his favorite subject.
“It is like math because you really need to look at the symbols and have to know when to start and end and stop,” he said. “It takes math to know what you’re going to do. My teacher, Mr. V, taught me math is always going to be in your life even when you’re not in school.”
Booth said it has been his first chance to play a musical instrument, and he realized that he probably should have been playing the drums for a long time.
“I’ve learned you can do different tones on a drum and you can really do anything on a drum,” he said. “Drumming has become one of my favorite things of all because I always have been thinking about the beat in my head. Every time I drummed on a desk or on a book, I felt like it had a good beat to it.”
For Yandy, she said being able to drum at school has been a relief in the mornings.
“To me, it’s kind of calming,” she said. “It’s like talking with music.”