About Me - Heather Taylor

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I majored in Music Education at Mansfield University and SUNY Fredonia and studied percussion with Richard N. Talbot, Ted Rounds, Theodore Frazeur, Tom Toner, and Dr. Karolyn Stonefelt. Dr. Stonefelt studied in Ghana, West Africa with master drummer, Francis Kofi and master of the ghanaian xylophone, Bernard Woma. At Fredonia, she shared her knowledge of Ewe drumming and Amadinda (log xylophone of Uganda). I also had the extreme priviledge of learning traditional Ghanaian dance and drumming from Elizabeth (Lizzy) Hammond of Ghana. I found this style of drumming to be both exhilerating and therapeutic. My experiences at Fredonia made me eager to learn more about African drumming and music therapy.

After surfing the net to find out what I could on the topic. I realized how widespread and popular handrumming is in America and all over the world. Many master drummers from Africa and other clinicians are providing workshops to share African culture and the drum circle experience. I have attended workshops and performances given by Baba Olatunji of Nigeria, Doudou N'Diaye Rose and the Drummers of West Africa from Dakar, Senegal, Mar Gueye of Senegal, Paulo Mattioli, signature artist for Remo World Percussion, and Karen Matthews- African dance. Occasionly I get the oppurtunity to play with the One - Heart community drum circle in Ithaca, NY. I'd like to get in contact with anyone from Elmira, NY who might be interested in starting a drum circle in our area.

I have played drum set/percussion for local musical theater productions including West Side Story, Pippin', Oklahoma, The Music Man, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady and Scrooge the Musical, and several children's musicals at Athens United Methodist Church. I have performed locally with the band Mojo, who played a mix of originals and cover tunes with an African/Latin flavor. Our first CD, Butterfly Tattoo is available at Amazon.com. I use LP bongos and Timbales, Toca congas, Pearl drumset, Zildjian cymbals, a djembe from the Ivory Coast, two Paulo Mattioli. signature series Remo djembes, other african percussion instruments from Cameroon, and lots of LP "toys". My second studio experience was percussion and drumset for the cast recording of "Scrooge The Musical". I'm starting to share what I've learned with others with a database of world rhythms using a notation system that combines attributes of the four most common methods of notating hand drum rhythms.

I have played the djembe to accompany church choirs, school groups, and community choral groups. I've written and taught a High School marching percussion cadence based on the Highlife rhythm, and have given African drumming workshops at local middle schools. I have written music and made guest appearances for two local elementary school percussion ensembles. Currently, I perform with New Praise and direct the Good News Singers at North Presbyterian Church in Elmira, NY. The Good News Singers is a youth choir that uses voice, guitar, piano, percussion, and Orff instruments to praise God through music. There is nothing more rewarding than working with children in service to the Lord.

You can contact me at heather@hst-percussion.com.

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