Hand in hand to promote music education in schools: X8 Drums joins The National Association for Music Education

X8 Drums is proud to announce that they have joined NAfME as a corporate member, thereby continuing their commitment to the promotion of music as a daily part of every student's education.

From the time our children are babies, they respond to the sounds of music. We play sing-a-long games with our infants, and music plays a big part in the makeup of their playthings. As children grow and are exposed more widely to music, their knowledge of the world around them expands. Children learn about culture and heritage through musical expression, and schools are now placing a wider importance on music as a way to facilitate learning.

X8 Drums has long since believed in assisting those educators who are struggling to keep musical education in the classroom. Studies have shown that students who participate in music training are more focused, well adjusted, and work better as a team than those who have not. Drum circles in particular are an excellent way to teach relationship skills and rhythm.

In this light, X8 Drums is proud to announce that it has joined the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to continually promote the importance of art education. "X8 Drums & Percussion is pleased to partner with NAfME. Our participation recognizes the importance of music & arts education in standard school curriculums across the country," said Mark Stancato, X8 Drums & Percussion President and CEO. "Exposing the children to music positively affects their IQ, reading age and the development of certain parts of the brain. Studying music can help in other avenues of life after graduation as well."

NAfME is the world's largest arts education organization, and they focus on all aspects of music education. With nearly 100,0000 members that represent educators from high school to preschool, NAfME's focus is to ensure that every student has access to an arts education. By partnering with NAfME, X8 Drums can continue to spread the importance of the arts as a vital part of every school’s curriculum.

The NAMM Global Report: Attitudes Toward Music in the United States

No one could deny the statement that music makes the world go around. We listen to it during exercise; we attend concerts and other events where music is a focal point. It blares behind us during almost every TV show, occasion, or during our workday. Without music, the world would seem completely quiet, despite the noise of our everyday lives. Every three years, the International Music Products Association or NAMM for short, conducts a poll to define the general public's attitude toward music. This survey measures many things including the likelihood of playing an instrument, where those individuals access their instrument instruction, and which gender is most likely to pick up an instrument and learn it on their own. Most data has remained stable across the past 3 years, but there have been some interesting changes to note.

81% of respondants regret not learning to play a musical instrument. Don't be one of them. Hand drumming on a djembe is a great way to learn rhythm in a positive, community environment. The cajon is also a great choice for beginner drummers.
During this survey, males and females were found to be almost equal in that they both play music instruments. There was no great deviation of males playing more than women. There was however, a huge jump of music playing for both genders under the age of 18. The percentage in 2000 of those under the age of 18 playing an instrument was 29%, but this figure jumped to 35% in 2009. This correlated with an increase in correspondents stating that the decision to play music was a joint decision and not individual. 45% stated that their parents encouraged them to play music. Parents appear to be more aware of the benefits of musical education and are influencing their children to become more involved.

In contrast, those in the age group of 18 to 34 saw a significant decrease in those who play music, dropping from 32% in 2006 to 24% in 2009. This may be due to the economic crisis, as many in that age group saw a drop in income or could have possibly lost their employment, therefore not being able to afford a musical hobby. The use of private lessons saw a slight decrease as well.

Although the NAMM poll saw that there was an even split between those who bought new and those who purchased used instruments, when the respondents did purchased, over 51% stated that they preferred to purchase in a specialized retail environment.

For those respondents with children in school, it was found that parents were encouraging their children more than ever to focus on music in school. The 5 to 11 year old age group increased since 2006. This could be due to better music programs in the schools. Many who were surveyed believed strongly in music education in the schools, and even stated that a state mandated music program would be a good idea. It was widely believed that children who participated in music programs were considered well rounded, and those surveyed were strongly on the side of infant music education and a larger music program in preschools.

Not learning a musical instrument tends to become a big regret in people's lives, with over 81% stating that they wished they had picked up an instrument, and over 60% of those people feeling they were too old to learn.

Every once in awhile it is useful to have a reminder as to how important the practice of playing music is. Whether it is enriching our children's education or allowing teenagers self-expression, learning and playing an instrument is a vital part of our lives.

Djembe Skins and Anthrax - The Facts

When participating in a drum circle, you might expect to be carried away by the beat of the drums and feel invigorated after. What you wouldn't expect is to develop a case of anthrax. The drum community was startled after recent reports surfaced that a woman participating in a New Hampshire drum circle developed a case of gastrointestinal anthrax. Although there have been reports of anthrax exposure due to spores being inhaled or entering through skin, this is the first report of gastrointestinal anthrax exposure in US history. This bacteria illness is not shared from person to person, but rather through exposure to certain animal skins or tainted meat and is a rare occurrence in developed nations such as the USA.

The drum circle in question was a group of 60 people in a house at United Campus Ministry in New Hampshire. Subsequent testing of the drums found anthrax on two of them, as well as residue on an electrical outlet. One of the drums in question had not been used in quite some time, and the other was a gift to the ministry. One of the persons running the drum circle for the ministry stated, "Most of our drums are from companies that do fair trade and sustainably harvested wood but in a shoestring operation, if people give you musical instruments, you take them."

Yes, it's scary to think that you could possibly be exposed to anthrax when drumming, but the reality is that reputable companies such as X8 Drums have safety proofed the industry by only dealing with established factories and distribution centers around the world. X8 has strict regulations on fumigation and skin treatment of the actual drum skin to eliminate the risk of contamination. Not every drum you encounter on the street will have the skin treated as part of the drum building process, so the need to buy from reputable companies is not just a smart decision, it's the safest one you can make.

As a consumer, there are a few things you can look out for when purchasing your hand drums. Prior to purchasing, inquire as to where the drums that the company purchases originate. If they have no true knowledge of their importation process, you are best to purchase elsewhere. When purchasing drums such as Djembes, ask if their drumheads are bleached. The skins that X8 Drums uses are bleached or treated in their factories.. The bleaching process will kill everything on the skin, and all of X8's Djembe drums are bleached with the exception of the Pro line, which uses a chemical process. Although not as powerful as the bleaching process, the chemical process treats the skin for bacteria and contaminants. As well, be aware that the highest risk for bacteria on a drum head comes from those with drumheads with hair, as they are difficult to treat and the treatment on these skins is salt curing, not chemicals.

It's always scary to read stories such as these, but you can rest assured that your drum is safe when you focus your efforts on educating yourself and purchase from highly reputable sites that focus on your safety and security such as X8 Drums.