Percussive Storytelling is a program I created in 2010 to bring classical music and storytelling to kids in fun and accessible ways. Since its inception, I have presented more than 500 programs to over 135,000 children in nine different countries and released two award-winning audio CDs and children's books. I have partnered with many great organizations in an attempt to bring the arts out of the concert hall and into the community.
Percussive Storytelling was originally created in response to my growing dismay at the dwindling audience for more avant-garde or experimental percussion concerts. While I loved combining theatre and percussion, I grew frustrated at a disconnect between the art, the audience, and myself. I dealt with this frustration by tinkering around with a bunch of percussion instruments. While improvising, I realized a circular pattern I was playing on blocks and bells sounded like a bicycle. I sat down, wrote The Lost Bicycle, composed the music, and Percussive Storytelling was born.
Since The Lost Bicycle, I have written nearly three dozen percussive stories. These stories come from everywhere: old folktales, adapted stories, original stories, classics, and of course my own daughter and son. Instruments and compositional styles come from all over the world, adding a multicultural and interdisciplinary aspect to the program. To me, the beauty of Percussive Storytelling is in its simplicity; anyone can do this anywhere. True, I might be able to move my hands really fast and know a lot about instruments, but Percussive Storytelling can be replicated by anyone in classrooms and libraries in the United States and abroad.