RESIDENCIES AND WORKSHOPS: Drumming and Diversity 

Residencies are designed to fit the needs of the location. There can be a choice of African diaspora cultural areas covered. For example, in a six-hour day, Mr. Coley can teach drumming, cultural history, songs and choreographies from Ghana, Brazil or Cuba. Depending upon their age, students learn specific movements, musical cues, the meaning of the dances and how to communicate the ideas within the dance to audiences.  Each residency is a unique, "hands-on" music ensemble experience and optional choreography with explanation of the cultural background. Students are engaged in a two-way dialogue that challenges their imaginations and preconceptions. All students benefit greatly from this work, including well-performing, high-functioning, gifted, at-risk and special needs.

 If the emphasis is on drumming, Cornell gives students extended time to play drums together. He demonstrates how the drums and percussion work in relation to each other, the evolution of drumming over time and from one culture to another. Using instruments as examples, he explores in-depth how technology has allowed innovations in instrument-making and playing techniques from traditional drums to the modern drum kit.

K- 12 school, after-school, colleges, community centers, hospitals and medical centers

 Thank you for another amazing performance! Yet again, you were a wonderful addition to our lineup. By far you are the most engaging and active performer. I hope we can continue to work together in the future.
Ashley , The Revolving Museum, Lowell

   The kids who came into the library following your performance were still buzzing about it! Your energy and sense of rhythm are contagious and the way you move your body is a joy to watch.
Katie McCarron, Children's Librarian, Lunenberg Public Library

  Thank you so much for the wonderful show you put on for our Juneteenth Celebration! You have the gift... in no time you had the audience volunteers dancing like a professional troupe! Amazing!
Lucia Shannon, Brockton Public Library

THE "FASCINATING RHYTHM"  SHOW     Unlimited Audience
Interactive, solo performance -  drums, folkloric instruments, dance and songs 

  • This interactive show begins with Cornell introducing the body as the first instrument.
  • Then, he plays on small instruments familiar to nomadic societies - the musical bow, dumbec, talking drum, families of bells, shakers and the human voice.
  • After this impressive display, he starts playing polyrhythms on larger drums connected to West African agricultural societies, accompanied by their dances. Audience members are then asked to play parts and move their bodies.
  • Everyone takes a breather while he introduces families of instruments from many lands. A few quick directions later, a youth ensemble is playing! Then we move further into the western hemisphere to experience the power and connection to the rhythms and songs of the Caribbean and Latin America! Soon, the audience is drumming, singing and dancing together! 
  • The finale is a SAMBA-STYLE jam session with solos and call-and-response playing - a boisterous carnival of drums!

60-minutes             All Ages: K - 12, Teen, Adult

USA, Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, South & Central America

Need a series of lessons that include drums and cultural information about the connections between West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, Latin America and the US?

Do you want to prepare beforehand and follow up afterward from a performance, workshop or residency in Afro-Latin Drumming? 

Why stress? Together, we determine your exact needs and develop a curriculum that matches my work to your academic goals.


Ranging from a series of one-on-one interventions, to a half-day to several weeks in a hospital unit, school, clinic or senior center, each therapeutic drum intervention is tailored to the needs of the client. Using drumming, movement, singing, therapeutic strategies and cultural contexts, Mr. Coley will access their healing power to challenge self-limiting beliefs and preconceptions about what is possible.Mr. Coley is a favorite at Memory Cafes throughout greater Boston, servicing a dozen per year.

Depending upon the illness, drum therapy helps connect the brain hemispheres, restore muscle control, bring out social intersction, calm emotions and inspire hope. Drumming and rhythm as therapeutic interventions are particularly helpful for people with stroke, Parkinson's, Altzheimers, brain injury, and trauma. Sufferers of PTSD and ADD also benefit. Mr. Coley includes the well-documented HealthRhythms protocol in his practice.

K-12 youth, the disabled, veterans, hospitals, senior centers, resident homes, clinics and hospices

Event Producer & Teaching Artist

Performance, Education, Health

Cultural Studies, Drums and Dance

DRUM CIRCLES     10 - 50 Participants

​Cornell's drum circles stand out as accessible, challenging, culturally rich,  grounded, multi-level, spiritual, upbeat, funky and social.

Informed by his training with Arthur Hull, Christine Stevens and other leaders in drum circle facilitation, as well as his studies with masters in African and Latin rhythms in Africa, Brazil and Cuba, he moves easily back and forth between "feeling the groove" and playing time-tested traditional rhythms.

Don't miss the out; join the fun!

Schools, hospitals, clinics, seniors, youth centers and in the community.

Cornell Coley, M. Ed.