American Rhythms: Watch for Free

For the first time since its release in 2008, the American Rhythms documentary is now available to the public (and for free!). The film takes us into a classroom of fifth graders that struggle with poverty and gang violence. Through our Beat the Odds® drumming program, they are seen, heard, connected, and better equipped to handle the stressors in their lives. 

American Rhythms is a film about drumming as a life-transforming experience for students at an elementary school in a community that struggles with poverty and gang violence. Throughout history, humans have used the sound and vibration of drumming as a force for expression, communication, music, meditation, and prayer. Through Ms. Gilmore’s 5th grade class at Napa St. Elementary School in Northridge, California, we watch how drumming can help students change the trajectory of their lives and the community they live in. Most students have been at Napa since kindergarten. We see their innocence erode as they negotiate the environment around them. We watch how these ten-year-olds cope with being the oldest on the playground, as they anticipate being the youngest at the intimidating, thousand-student middle school. We witness the powerful effects that group drumming has on our little friends, validated by the outcome of a UCLArts & Healing study. We see how teachers and counselors use the drum to help children be seen, heard, connected, and better able to move beyond the stressors they face.