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About the Marimba^

marimba close-upMarimbas are pitched percussion instruments (think big wooden xylophones) played with mallets. family marimba timeThey are hand-crafted instruments with a beautiful resonant sound. The marimbas we are working with originated in Africa in the 1950’s as teaching instruments and were designed to be played as an ensemble. The family of marimbas usually found in a marimba ensemble consists of sopranos, tenors, an alto, a baritone, a bass, and a lead marimba spanning around 4 octaves. A marimba ensemble is usually accompanied by percussive shakers (hosho) and sometimes other percussion instruments as well. Much of the music played in many marimba ensembles is based on the traditional mbira (thumb piano) music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

NFV Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project’s Vision and Mission^

DSC00194We feel that marimbas are a perfect fit for bringing hands-on accessible music to people from all walks of life. Marimbas are a great teaching instrument because the sounds are easy to produce and there are a lot of amazing life lessons that naturally arise when learning the different parts, how they all fit together, and how they sometimes cut across and joke with each other. Besides the obvious rhythm, melody, and harmony, many other universal artistic concepts arise as well including balance, pattern recognition, ratios, polarities, improvisation, patience, and the sum being greater than each individual part. Playing the marimba utilizes the mind and opens the heart in such a way that it seems to work wonders for inspiring kids and people of all ages to learn and play music together. Keeping the mind and body active in this way is great for cognitive development and as a preventative to “age related” memory loss and cognitive-function disorders.

spring flingThe North Fork Valley Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project’s mission is to create a joyful, safe, and creative environment for students of all ages (mainly 9+) to delve deeper into their personal relationship with rhythm, music, themselves, and their community. We facilitate musical experiences to help participants acquire a visceral memory that learning music and playing music is fun, uplifting, and inspiring. We are currently focusing our school marimba programs for 4th – 12 graders to bring musical enrichment opportunities through engaging group classes. Our community outreach offerings and workshops are able to get many members of the community playing together. At a recent open-house throughout the course of the event we were able to get over 75 people of all ages playing marimba music.

summer campDavid Alderdice, main teacher and co-founder of Embodying Rhythm, is a working professional in all the aspects of teaching, sharing, and performing music and rhythm.  David and a team of his most dedicated Embodying Rhythm marimba students as assistants are currently offering a wide variety of classes, workshops, in-school assemblies and school residencies in the North Fork Valley area. We envision providing more marimba classes, workshops, residencies and performances for schools, community centers, libraries, festivals, adult care centers, churches, and celebratory events as well as events for the general public. As we have time and resources, we will continue to reach out to include all possible interested schools and students.

The Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project Ensemble in action^

The Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project Ensemble plays fun groovy polyphonic music perfect for movement on the dance floor as well as relaxing journeys of the ear and soul. At times different times, the funky 8-piece marimba ensemble will be joined by the sounds of trombone, tenor and alto saxophones, flute, melodica, percussion, congas, drumset, and voices.

In 2017, the ensemble is excited to premiere several new original compositions and arrangements by David Alderdice. They will also be sharing some of their continuing explorations of music from different regions Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. The ensemble includes David Alderdice, Arlyn Alderdice, Jeannette Carey, Daniel B, Matt Drbohlav, Rebecca Drbohlav, Osha Foster, and Jen Sanborn with Eric Baumheier, Tony Peters, Chris Faison and other special guests joining on occasion.


Ensemblemarimba project ensembleEmbodying Rhythm Marimba ProjectMarimba Project Ensemble

In-School Musical Enrichment Assemblies^

Marimba Project at K-8These assemblies can be customized to your group or school.
This fun and upbeat in-school assembly is designed to inspire students with music. Six to ten professional musicians and music teachers, led by David Alderdice, will demonstrate the fun and excitement of playing in a music ensemble with a full funky world-beat marimba band. The program will include lively marimba ensemble music stemming mainly from South African and South American cultures. If you are not familiar with marimbas, think big (sometimes really big) beautiful sounding wooden xylophones. Our marimba ensemble consists of 2 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors, a baritone, and a (really big) bass marimba providing a four and a half octave range for the musical pallet. This style of marimba originated with the Shona people of Zimbabwe. DSC00095We sometimes accompany our marimbas with tasty percussion or funky drumset grooves. The musicians will demonstrate and discuss how music works, the necessity of working together as a team, and the awareness of how all the parts interact with each other and together create the music. This is an interactive musical journey, so there will be call and response, as well as other audience participation games for the students. The musicians will share information about the different roles within music (rhythm, melody, and harmony) and, time permitting, will talk about and/or demonstrate the different roles that music has taken historically (entertainment, healing, storytelling, ceremonial, expressive, intimidative, communicative, etc..) as well as answer related questions from the students. The musicians will also share with the students information about other musical instruments (besides the marimbas), life as a musician, music as an occupation, and all the opportunities there are for inspired students to learn, explore, and enjoy music.

In-School Marimba Residencies^

marimbas in the schoolsFifteen students at a time will enjoy a participatory marimba ensemble session each day of the residency. The students will also have the option to be a part of an after-school class for those who would like more playing time and an extra musical challenge. At the end of the residency all the classes and after-school groups will share what they’ve learned in a performance for parents, teachers, other students, and community members. The parents, teachers, and school administration will get an opportunity to play as well.

The North Fork Valley Embodying Rhythm Marimba Project’s mission is to create a joyful, safe, and creative environment for students of all ages (mainly 9+) to delve deeper into their personal relationship with rhythm, music, themselves, and their community. We facilitate musical experiences to help participants acquire a visceral memory that learning music and playing music is fun, uplifting, and inspiring. All instruments and materials will be provided.

marimbaThe marimba residencies allow students to learn to play music together and work together for the common good in a non-competitive, fun, engaging, and educational group activity. Playing music in an ensemble utilizes the whole student’s capacity in ways that other school activities cannot and focuses on communication and team building. The marimba experience would not just be offered to current music students, all students in the grade levels offered would get the chance to participate. There is a fast return on the student’s time investment because the basic sounds are easy to achieve instantly; the musical complexity comes with rhythmic syncopation, the layering of the parts, the implied music theory, the group feel, and the human interaction and cooperation behind it all. Much of the music we teach on the marimba is traditional music of the southern regions of Africa. We also teach improvisational techniques, contemporary melodies, and original compositions. All the participants involved will get to perform the new fun music that they’ve learned during the residency together, sharing their newfound love of working together as a team playing marimba music with their school-mates, friends, and teachers.


“It’s a great program to get community members and kids playing marimbas together. The marimba is a unique outlet for musicians because immediately you get a great sound. It’s really good for teaching rhythm problem-solving skills, building teamwork and it’s just a ton of fun.”– Jeannette Carey, Music and Choir Director, Hotchkiss Schools

“Paonia Elementary is in full support of David Alderdice’s goal of acquiring a number of marimbas to further improve the depth and variety of the music education offerings for our area youth.” – Sam Cox, Principal Paonia Elementary School

“Knowing the quality of teacher David is, and also knowing what versatile instruments marimbas are, I feel they would bring yet another wonderful dynamic to our community. Children all the way to the elderly could learn rhythm and melodies in fun and engaging ensembles!!” -Cory McClure, North Fork Vision school graduate, David’s weekly drum student for 6 years – now a professional drummer

“I feel that bringing marimbas into the North Fork Valley will bring our community together in celebration, learning and harmony. These instruments are beautiful, uplifting, spirited and a great way to bring people together and expand consciousness.” -Alicia Michelsen, Local Educator and board member for The Learning Council

“I really like the marimba because of the musical sound it makes. You don’t see instruments like the marimba that often and I think they are very magical.” – 5th grade Blossom Valley Waldorf Initiative student

“I have the utmost confidence that Mr. Alderdice will do an excellent job in mentoring young musicians and enhancing their experiences as performers in the North Fork area for many years to come.” -Willie Wright, Band Director Worland, WY. Former Band Director for Paonia High School

Promo Videos from Other Organizations^


Thank you to our sponsors and volunteers!^

thank you to our volunteers and sponsors

Give the gift of more marimbas^

The marimba project will use your donation to bring music to school-children, thank you for your support.