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Drumming up interest in music at Boys & Girls Club
Boys & Girls Club members Dennis Jones, left, and Malachi Gordon keep a beat on their clave during drumming lessons. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Keeping time or keeping a rhythm.

A handful of members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manteca are learning the basics for keeping the beat.

Thanks to Robert Bassett of GK Music provided lessons to youngsters, including 10-year-old Dennis Jones.

“I play the keyboard but I like (keeping) the rhythm and the beat,” said the club member from Stockton.

“Rhythm is the most important thing in music,” Bassett said. “The beat for a musician keeps the time much like a clock or a watch.”

A 2012 graduate of Sierra High, he’s a sophomore at the University of the Pacific, studying Music Therapy.

Bassett is a freelance bass player and has played in various bands of a variety of music genres, from Jazz, Rock and even Funk.

“I’ve played the drums on and off and was on a drum line in junior high,” he added.

Trying to bring in a drum kit – that’s snare, tom-tom, bass, and hi-hat and crash cymbals – in the Manteca Boys & Girls Club would be a tough chore, according to Bassett.

“Drums are common in modern music,” he said.

Instead, Bassett brought a percussion instrument called the clave. Made of white wood, the 8-inch long by 1 ½-inch wide clave produces bright, cracking sounds and is often the rhythmic pattern forming the basis in Latin music.

Youngsters, meanwhile, had no problems following his beat patterns with this simple instrument.

“I was surprised how quick they took to it,” he said.

This was Week 1 of a six-week course offered a class that’s topped off at 10 youngsters, meeting every Friday for about an hour beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Most of them, including Jones, showed a genuine interest in this music form.

“You guys are excellent at keeping time,” said Bassett to his young students.