Drumming is the first musical form. It was easy for primitive people to tighten animal skins around hollowed wood. And the beat began. Drumming is primarily a musical instrument, but in its earliest form was a communication device - like Morse Code.
Drumming's simplicity is used by 76-year-old Seattle, Washington jazz drummer, George Griffin. He teaches drumming appreciation to residents of Rainier Valley housing complex for seniors of limited income. Griffin lives in the housing complex; he gets to stay active and help others enjoy his specialty. He is a music teacher to people who may have never before touched a musical instrument.
He told The Seattle Times: "I can't hang out in the clubs like I used to," he said. "My reward now is in seeing people play the rhythm."
Griffin's past is filled with memories of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In the 1960s, he was in the house band at downtown Seattle's celebrated Penthouse club and opened for the aforementioned greats.
Griffin promoted his get-active venture stating that he was forming a drum line, no experience needed. Miniature conga drums were the drum of choice. Now, about eight seniors show up in a meeting room, twice a week, to experience the beat.
On occasion, he plays professionally, with his George Griffin Trio. His performances are hosted by the Senior Housing Assistance Group. Griffin also puts in appearances at Seattle's Green Dolphin Street Lounge, to recreate a jazz house for the Central Area Senior Center.