Jubilation Fellow John Marshall

John Marshall

Fellowship: 2009 / 2012

“Children are gifted with the capacity to dodge the editing process,” says John. “Children tap into a freshness of energy and spirit! I’ve had the great fortune to work with absolute novices — young inner-city students who never had the opportunity to play an instrument.”

A former school teacher, his passion for the drums of Egypt, India, Asia, West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East led John to perform, compose, and record in these traditions. And for the last 25 years, he has shared his knowledge through workshops, classes, and seminars in partnership with schools, arts organizations, and community centers. “I was recently teaching a hand drum series with a mix of kids and adults,” says John. “As the weeks passed, the whole group thoroughly intermingled. Adults learned something about the musical bravery and confidence of childhood, and the kids learned something about the geniality and equanimity of adulthood. At the end of the six-week session, we were just people, or musical citizens, who had built a musical village together.”

As part of the Inter-district Music Project in Waterbury CT, he meets with economically-challenged kids attending an arts magnet school, and together, they create an extended piece of percussion music for Pilobolus Dance Theatre. “It’s very democratic,” he says, “we work it out together.” The kids rehearse four days a week, three hours a day for a month or so, and come up with a piece 8-10 minutes long. “Then we perform it at the show, in this huge, beautiful theater. You should see their faces! We record the piece as well, so they have a CD of their music at the end.”

John hopes to open a Rhythmic Integration Center (RIC), featuring a group of teachers, salon-style concerts, and visiting international artists. “It addresses a need,” he says. “Both kids and adults want to experience community.”

Links: John’s Facebook page
Jubilation 2012 retreat video
Rhythmic Integration Center

John is Reading:
The Music Lesson: a spiritual search for growth through music by Victor Wooten
Classical Riq Technique by Michel Merhej
Rudolf Steiner’s Vision of Love by Bernard Nesfield-Cookson

%d bloggers like this: