Drumming up a new experience

"Think about a cup of water," he said. "If you put one spoon of sugar in, it will be sweet, but two spoons of sugar will be sweeter. It's the same with practice. If you practice for one hour, okay, but if you practice for 10 hours It's very easy to be mediocre, but if you want to be good"that takes hard work."

Burman also taught the 50 or so students about the expansive and sometimes hypnotic rhythms of Indian music. He demonstrated 16 beat, 10 beat and seven beat patterns that are a far cry from the two, three and four-beat meters that are common place in Western music.

"Clap along with me," said Burman. "We are like a band and we must multi-task. It's not about you, it's about the whole team. If one person rushes, we're all rushing."

Keith Bushey, Mohonasen's band director and facilitator for the performing arts, coordinated the event, which was funded by the band fund. He said he hoped some of the members of the school's jazz band in attendance picked up useful tips about improvisation. He also called the event a "unique opportunity" for his percussionists.

"This is a new cultural experience for a lot of the kids," said Bushey. "It's a different genre with expanded meters and different inflections."

Mark Riggi, a seventh grade percussionist who likes to play the drum set, watched intently as Burman produced beat after beat from his instrument.

"It was neat," said Riggi who plans on continuing his study of music in high school. "I want to expand my horizons and look into different cultures."

After Burman and his sister rushed off for a gig in Scranton, Pa., several students congregated around the band room's hand drums and a set of bright red congas.

Trying to imitate Burman, they started drumming away, mirroring their beats with percussive vocals.

"I'm jealous," said senior Alex Resilia of Burman's virtuosity. "I wish I could play like him." ""

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