Fellowship: 2008 / 2012
“Support the arts in your schools,” says Paul. “Period.”
Paul is the co-founder of Beat For Peace, a music-based intervention program that combines world music drumming and counseling. Originating in Florida elementary schools, he established the program in Iowa six years ago. “We used to have a gang problem here,” he says, “but one day I stood up and said, I have a gang. Instead of beating skulls, we beat drums. Instead of kicking each other, we work together.”
“If I had a magic wand,” says Paul, “I would turn every weapon into a musical instrument, every round of ammunition into a note. In disputes, the winner would be the band, ensemble, or orchestra that evokes the most emotion out of the opponent — making them laugh, cry, or giggle!”
Paul brings his talent and dedication to his job as a music teacher at Roundy Elementary. “I teach specifically at the elementary level, because children have no knowledge that they can’t do something.”
Paul also leads The Marimba Cats, a performing ensemble of middle and high school students, and an extension of Beat For Peace Iowa. In addition, he’s a consultant for Just Play It!, a classroom blues harmonica curriculum. “I love what I am doing,” says Paul. “I am a third generation music teacher. My grandfather taught high school music and played with the Boston Pops. My mom was a music teacher for 39 years. Music has always been part of my life.”
In 2005, Paul was composer and co-facilitator of the Iowa Groove, leading an astonishing 1300 person drum ensemble. “I’ve got a little reputation for doing crazy stuff,” he says.
Skins, Sticks, and Bars (Heritage Press) song book for drum, xylophone, recorder ensembles (available from westmusic.com)
Happy Jammin’ (Heritage Press) song book for recorder
Paul is Watching: Cartoons! Warner Brothers’ are my favorite. I learned so much music by watching them. I still watch Sesame Street: I LOVE the little 10-15 second shorts introducing a new letter or number. My unrealized dream was to compose for those little nuggets of info.