A familiar face returned to Schultz Elementary School this week to lead students in a drum circle during their music class.
Retired music teacher Rolf Remlinger was at the center of the drum circles in Tracy Cinereski’s music class and helped students learn about keeping a beat and performing together.
“I enjoy seeing them playing together and seeing them have fun with it,” Remlinger said. “You’re teaching rhythm, and they’re playing together. It’s the first time they’ve done something like that. … I tell them I want them to be musicians today, not kindergarteners or first graders.”
Remlinger, who retired in 2019, led the students in a variety of drumming exercises, usually requiring them to follow his patterns or directions.
Cinereski said the drumming sessions provide a valuable lesson to students.
“Responding to a conductor, having to watch a person leading you, that’s really valuable to start in kindergarten,” Cinereski said. “Drum circles are a great way to teach kids how to keep a steady beat, and that’s one of the foundations of music. I think doing this really gets them tuned in on what it means to keep the beat because they have to physically feel it.”
Remlinger said he enjoys seeing the students learn to play as a group.
“I like the idea that that they’re playing together and that they’re listening to the starts and the stops,” he said. “It’s like the beginning of an ensemble. The basics of the rhythm and the community. This is where it all starts … the high school bands, the choirs, the orchestra. It all starts here.”
Cinereski said the circle is another way to bond students together.
“(The district is) really big on circles and trying to be one (community),” she said.
Remlinger said he started the drum circle in 2013 while he was still a teacher, adding it took him many years to get enough drums for all the students to play at the same time.
Cinereski said she’s happy to have Remlinger back in the classroom for drum circle.
“It’s a great tradition to continue,” Cinereski said. “I like that Mr. Remlinger is a part of our DCS family. He’s a retired teacher who comes back and does this so that’s one of my things that I like.”
Remlinger said he enjoys returning to the school for drum circle.
“I like coming in and seeing the kids,” he said. “There are still two grade levels here that remember me as a teacher. There’s a little emotional part there, too. I’m a lifelong teacher.”