Dr. Ryan C Lewis

Dr. Ryan C Lewis

Central Region
Arkadelphia, Arkansas
[email protected]

"A World of Rhythm: Drumming Around the Globe" is an exciting multicultural program that explores music from around the world from the vantage point of drums and percussion. Music is a universal language that tells us many things about a given culture—what makes the people laugh and cry, what they feel is most important, their cultural identity, social ideals, religious beliefs, roles of dance and art, etc. Because they are common ingredients in most world musics and are instruments accessible for performance by all ages and ability levels, drums and percussion are an effective and enjoyable way for students to journey through and, most importantly, experience world music. As a part of exploring the music and cultures of West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, students will (1) listen to audio recordings of art/classical, popular, and traditional/folk world music, (2) view videos of authentic performances, (3) experience live performances of percussion instruments, (4) perform rhythms and instruments indigenous to each culture, (5) learn to utilize found instruments to construct their own versions of world instruments, (6) compose original rhythms, (7) improvise rhythmically, (8) explore the fusion of world music influences in students' favorite modern popular music, and (9) gain an appreciation for and an acceptance of other cultures different from their own. The ultimate goals of the "A World of Rhythm" program are to (1) expose students to the many styles of music from cultures around the world, (2) engage students in performances of indigenous rhythms on traditional and found instruments, and (3) assist students in valuing the differences and similarities between world cultures and their own. Available to conduct teacher workshops.


Dr. Ryan C. Lewis is Assistant Professor of Percussion at Ouachita Baptist University where he teaches Percussion and Music History and Literature courses. Previously he served on the music faculties of Claflin University, the University of South Carolina, and Florida State University, where he directed the Caribbean Steel Drum Ensemble. Lewis received recognition for outstanding teaching at the University of South Carolina and was awarded "Teacher of the Year" honors as a public school General Music Teacher in Florida. Lewis holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from Florida State University, and a Bachelor's of Instrumental Music Education from Furman University. He is an active member of the international Percussive Arts Society and the College Music Society and is an Artist-Educator for Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets. An avid orchestral and chamber musician, Lewis performs with his own piano-percussion group, Duo Matre, and has appeared with So Percussion, composer-conductor John Harbison, Mannheim Steamroller, Afro-pop guitarist Habib Koité, and Chinese zheng-master Haiqiong Deng in her Carnegie Hall debut. His scholarly activities include published articles in Percussive Notes and research presentations at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and College Music Society National Convention. Lewis frequently presents clinics, masterclasses, and guest lectures at music educator conferences, high schools, and universities centering on world music cultures, hand drums, jazz drum set, fundamental techniques, symphonic performance practice, and historical aspects of percussion instruments.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: All ages
Geographic Availability: statewide
Time Availability: open
Special Needs: Audio playback (stereo system)

Video playback (projector/screen or television) Percussion instruments (as needed)