Muddy’s Journal

gnomies making a difference in memphis: joanna's drum class @ carpenter art garden!

If you tend to get your Muddy's fix at our East Memphis location, chances are you have been served by the lovely and talented gnomie Joanna. Yes, she's got a gift for customer service, but did you know she is also a fabulous drummer? Joanna has been drumming since fifth grade, and she even paid her way through college with a drumming scholarship. When you hang out with Joanna, it's pretty clear that the beat is in her blood. It's also pretty clear that she's got a big heart for Memphis and its children, and that she loves to share her love of drumming with them however she can.

This summer Joanna really got to live out this dream of sharing her love of drumming with the children of Memphis by volunteering through Muddy's community program to lead a week-long drum workshop with the Carpenter Art Garden. This was such a huge hit with the kids (mostly Lester Elementary students who walk over to the Carpenter Art Garden to enjoy its after school programming during the school year) that Joanna was invited back to offer a once-a-week drum class throughout the year.

About 8 to 10 students attend each week, ranging in age from 6 to 11. Most are at a "beginner" level, but Joanna will soon start private lessons with some older more experienced students. While she is an experienced teacher, she has never worked with this age range; so she is developing her curriculum as she goes. The kids do a lot of simple "playing around" on their drums (five-gallon buckets), with Joanna drumming a line and the kids drumming it back. By the end of the school year, however, Joanna hopes for all the students to be able to read sheet music and figure out the beat by themselves.

I visited drum class on a very special day, the first day Joanna began to teach them the concept of reading music. She teaches them to read the "secret language" with easily understandable concepts by assigning a "pizza word" to each type of note (e.g., a whole note is "dough" and a quarter note is "pepperoni").

Joanna says that teaching this class at the Carpenter Art Garden is an incredibly rewarding experience. Her goal is to help at least one student pay their way through college with drumming the way she did. She says, "Just one student receiving a scholarship would make me happy."

We here at Muddy's Bake Shop are super thrilled to be a part of exposing a handful of Memphis kids to a wonderful world of music through such a passionate teacher as our gnomie Joanna. To learn more about what other Muddy's gnomies are doing in our community, check out THIS PAGE about our ongoing volunteering projects!