Teaching Artist in Education & Health

​         Drumming, Dance & Culture

Cornell Coley, M. Ed. 

    Born in Kingston, Jamaica of Cuban and Jamaican parents, Cornell Coley, M. Ed. is an “in-demand” arts educator . He holds a BA from Tufts University, an M.Ed from Cambridge College, studied cultural anthropology at UCLA and lived in Ghana, West Africa for one year studying dance. He has also traveled to Cuba and Brazil to conduct research in the cultural arts.

   With over 25 years experience , he has taught at many universities, including UCLA, the Cultural Training Institute of Jamaica, Smith, Hampshire, Amherst, Mt. Holyoke and Trinity Colleges, Northeastern University and Tufts Dance Department. In 1994, he wrote the first draft of the arts curriculum framework for the Massachusetts Department of Education.

   A gifted dancer and percussionist, Cornell has performed at festivals world-wide, including tours with the "Uclatino" band in Mexico and the "Bodytjak" Indonesian-American ensemble in Indonesia . His percussion skills include drum kit, timbales, congas, bongos, talking drum, berimbau, cajon, Brazilian bateria and other Latin percussion. His dance specialties include Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Congolese and Ghanaiandance.

   From 2009 - 2012, Mr. Coley provided ongoing therapeutic drumming in Vermont Veteran's Home, Tewksbury Hospital, Butler Hospital and Children's Hospital, Boston. He continues to facilitate drum circles for senior living centers throughout greater Boston.

   In the decade of 2000-2010, he developed an 8-year residency and curriculum for Toddler Drumming at Spontaneous Celebrations Arts Center and conducted several multiple year residencies in the Boston Public School system elementary schools.

   He has received multiple grants and awards from the Mass Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, the OAS and several private foundations.

   Currently, he is the Afro-Latin drum specialist at the Hyde Square Task Force and an Artist-in Residence with the City of Boston's AIR Program. He performs and teaches regularly throughout New England. 

In October of 2015, he presented a TEDxtalk on Drumming and the Brain.

   Mr. Coley wrote, produced, and performs in his own solo show,
“A Fascinating Rhythm,” in over 400 libraries, schools and festivals

Arts Education 
Drum Circles

Watch Cornell's TEDx Talk

Drumming and the Brain

"Many Thanks"


...to my Master Teachers in African Diaspora drum and dance and

drum circle facilitation, including: 

CK Ladzekpo (Ghana), Malonga Casque Lourdes (Congo), Conjunto Folklorico (Cuba), Diane Walker (tap) and Jose Lorenzo (Afro-Brazilian) and Deraldo Ferreira (Capoeira), Arthur Hull (drum circle facilitation) and HealthRhythm Directors Dr. Barry Bittman and Christine Stevens (therapeutic drumming).