The Breath of the Drum Road Show Workshops

Listed below are details of our workshop offerings. Road Show events can select between the following workshops. We understand that different organizations and communities may have ideas for other workshops that make these events relevant for the respective audiences, so please feel free to reach out to us and let us know if there are additional things you’d like to see offered here.

1. DANCE: The Steps of the Second Line: creative movement workshop – 2 hours

Basic choreographic elements of “dance X” are introduced to community members in an open workshop. With this new movement vocabulary, workshop participants join the parade the following day. At ease with basic movement patterns and with one another, dancers can flow, let go, contribute to and share in the exuberant experience. This critical mass of movers and shakers will act as an example and magnet for drawing other would-be on-lookers into a participatory relationship with the parade.

2. FIELD RECORDING: The Art Of Supple Street Recording – 2 hours

The New Orleans Second Line style parade is modern day opera played out in the streets in funky stories in sound: 360 degree sonic graffiti as the band and whish-whirl of dancing people flow as one to the common beat. To get this beat in the street you gotta get in the street and find the beat. Space/Time/Place is the first rule of Supple Street Recording as the freedom and constraints of sonic energy revolve around the intersection, activation and orbit of these key elements.

Day 1: The class is presented with modern acoustical technology and innovative recording techniques to explore the underpinning of noise vs sound, intuitive listening vs eye listening, and your story vs. unfiltered story.

Day 2: As the streets shift shape into sonic theater around the roar of the parade the workshop puts theories into play as we strive to create resonating art and story in sound.

Day 3: Back together the workshop listens to the sound, stories and the experiences we framed. The workshop then chooses works for the S&P website.

3. WRITING: Parade Flash (Non) Fiction

The Second Line style parades are a synthesis of sound and culture, release and connection vibrating the looking glass of the direct deed – the fountainhead of jazz or improvising music as well as flash (non) fiction. The parade experience shifts perceptions and paradigms while rewarding spontaneity with flow.

Day 1: We look and listen to free flowing writers and musicians such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sekou Sundiata, Quincy Troupe, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Sidney Bechet, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Coltrane, Kirk Joseph, and parade recordings from Brazil, New Orleans, and Cuba featuring The Rebirth Brass Band, The Hot 8 Brass Band, Conga Los Hoyos, and Bloco Olodum to explore how sound, place and space evoke emotion in word and sound.

Day 2: Armed with a pocket notepad and a pen, we move with the parade and produce one pass flash (non) fiction based on how the parades move us internally and externally. We write one piece while on the go during the parades and then another at the parades’ final stop.

Day 3: The workshop reconvenes to share the fruits of our pleasure while choosing works for the S&P website.

4. VIDEO / PHOTOGRAPHY: Visual Storytelling Through a Personal Lens – 2 hours

The big parades produce not only amazing music and visual splendor but rich and diverse stories, making it a great opportunity for storytelling through video and photography. Students will be encouraged to draw on their own experiences, interests and perspectives to highlight a specific aspect of the parade. For example, a musician may choose to put the lens on the band and all the different instruments while a dancer might roam through the crowd documenting the different styles of dance and movement. Final videos will incorporate live-action footage and interviews that represent individual perspectives that come together to tell a bigger picture.

Day 1: Discussion of visual storytelling in both film and photography. Look at different cameras, audio/video equipment, technologies and techniques with pros and cons as they apply to filming and photographing live parades. Interview techniques are discussed and practiced. Students will choose the element(s) of the parade they will focus on and create rough storyboards to plan the shoot.

Day 2: The plan gets put into practice during the parade. Equipped with new technology and methodology, each student slips through the parade to gather footage for their own interpretation of the parade and conducts interviews with 2–3 people before and after the parade.

Day 3: The workshop reconvenes to share stories of the film shoot. We discuss and help students through best practices on logging, organizing and editing footage. Students will begin editing. Final footage will be uploaded to a website that acts as a digital hub for the event.

5. PAINTING / MURAL / STREET ART: The Art of the Street

Culture, history and unity in the community is forged and reshaped in the streets made magical by the parade energy. Through murals we echo and celebrate the parade vibration in visual story made large in image and paint.

Day 1: Participants draw figures quickly to music/sound to generate freedom of stroke on paper. Then the workshop puts those figures onto life-sized or bigger material of choice; available materials are walls, streets, plywood, metals, canvas to name a few.

Day 2: Participants join the Big Parade

Day 3: Inspired by the parade and movement, the workshop reconvenes and puts in the colors.

The final piece is gifted to the school.

6. MUSIC: Parade Band Master Class – 75–90 minutes

The band does a workshops with undergraduate students in the School of Music / Jazz Department discussing rhythms, beats and techniques used to play parades in the street as well as the stories, trials and tribulations which inspired the band to play. The school band director can rehearse a couple common songs with 2nd line band sitting in/practicing and together they lay down a few tracks. On the day of the parade the school band riffs on the rhythms with percussion instruments.

7. CHILDREN’S PROGRAM – 75–90 minutes

Interdisciplinary Program in Arts & Culture: most suitable for ages 6–11

Bringing kids from too-often segregated communities together at an early age (giving them a venue for playing together and knowing one another, and demystifying the spaces each other occupies) is the most effective for making this the norm for the next generation.


Craft project: Children will build/create (determined by location) (e.g. costume piece, hand-held prop, musical instrument).
Cultural geography and Storytelling: An age-appropriate introduction to the geography and social history of tradition (X).

Music: In cases where children have built a musical instrument, they will learn to play it. Participants learn to accompany the rhythm of (X).

Dance: Participants are taught simple dance movements and choreography.

Performance Activity: Wearing their costumes/hats they have made, or playing the instruments they have made, dancing children will join in the parade.