Halfway through this project I thought of another meaning to the title, Give me back my drum!
It could be seen as call to action, to reclaim music and give it back to the people from whom it has been stolen.
But to be honest I had just heard a great story from the Irish storyteller Liz Weir about the first cat being a drummer, so I adapted the story to add to my collection of stories for young children and made up a rhythmic call and response where we all shout:
“Yes, you guessed it – give me back my drum!”
We had a lot of fun. Originally, I had hoped to work with a violinist I had previously worked with on storytelling projects. But as Covid insecurities were rampant, it ended up being just myself as the storyteller and musician delivering the sessions.
Overall the sessions supported almost 300 preschool children across Moray, working closely in partnership with Moray Council and preschool centres in Duffus, Elgin and Forres.
The project could not have gone ahead without my collaborator, Laura Russell, The Early Years Officer at Moray Council’s Education Department.
Laura confirmed that there was a pressing need for specialists to visit preschool centres after the recent Covid restrictions. She was keen on storytelling and drumming, so we enthusiastically put a plan together and were delighted to get the go ahead.
Laura used to work for Earthtime and is a keen advocate for outdoor learning. I come from a performance background, and though I love the outdoors myself, they were firmly separate things in my mind!
But she persuaded me to offer outdoor sessions and it made sense to be in the fresh air with Covid concerns.
Telling stories under a tree in Cooper Park, Elgin, with two ravens sitting on a branch above listening along with the children was so magical.
Probably they were waiting to see what snacks the children had left – but it makes a good story.
Lots to learn with outdoor sessions though, and a few tricky moments, such as the irony of me telling stories about nature in an outside den, only to be visited by some hungry wasps. I was left alone with the children, trying to stay calm as the staff ran off to grab a jar or something to catch them in.
As for myself – it seems an ongoing play between being a storyteller and a drummer and how to put these two together.
Long may it continue.
Carol Scorer is a Moray-based percussionist and storyteller. The Give Me Back My Drum! project was one of eight supported through the Youth Arts Small Grants Scheme for Moray. Find out more about the scheme on our project page.