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Help kids get rhythm with the beat
Craig Miller of Drummm gets youngsters of GECAC afterschool program pumped up at the rhythmic event. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Jeni Swerdlow and Craig Miller have been drumming their entire lives.

They’re part of the Oakland-based Drummm Rhythmic Events. They do “Zambomba” – included are drum-type instruments and percussions – and spearhead functions that help build connections through the beat of the drums and  other instruments.

“Everyone has been playing drums their entire life – it’s called your heart,” said Swerdlow, who served as a presenter, facilitator and trainer at Tuesday’s special function held inside the Sequoia School multi-purpose building.

She and Miller also had the pleasure of getting youngsters from all 13 after-school programs of Give Every Child A Chance involved in their interactive program.

“(Through drumming) we bring the experience of team building, creating community, cooperation and collaboration,” Swerdlow said.

Each GECAC – some 700 in all – were given an instrument known as the boom whacker.

But this long cylindrical percussion came with a caveat: Respect and safety.

Youngsters had to be careful of their surrounding while trying to keep the beat as part of a rhythm orchestra.

“For some, you might not be good (with the boom whacker) but try to do your best,” Swerdlow said. “But it’s important to have fun.”

She noted that music is also a language, with its own form of communication.

“We love drumming so much that we enjoy sharing it other people,” said Swerdlow, who was also speaking on behalf of Miller.

The two were scheduled to do “Zambomba” this past weekend at Function in San Francisco.

For more information, log on to or call Swerdlow at 510-316-2850.