Just had a wonderful conversation with LF#1’s teacher. She was concerned about her music grade as they would be performing old, traditional California songs ( I’ll working on the railroad, I still remember the words to that) with music. She knew that LF#1 wasn’t going to particpate in square dancing for P.E.
My younger daughter’s teacher had already given her permission to opt-out. LF#1’s teacher wanted LF#1 to perform a solo, square dance in front of the class girls for her P.E. grade and perform in the singalong. I explained our boundaries to her (yours could be different, that’s not the point of the post): singing a Capella is okay, no dancing, certain percussions okay. I wasn’t demanding or judgemental.
Alhamdulillah, we came to an agreement so now she will do a report on the use of percussion instruments in different cultures. She will also learn the lyrics for some of Californian songs. LF#1 will also take our duff from Pakistan or tar as it is called in the Sudan to school and come up with a new beat. She will perform this for her class, telling them that about how we use this in our celebrations and announcements.
This is a prime example that if we communicate with our children’s public school teachers about our religious and cultural needs, they are usually forthcoming. It gives my child a chance to participate in class while holding her own moral ground and educating her peers about a world beyond.
- A duff is a round wooden frame drum whose diameter is bigger than its depth. Goat skin traditionally is stretched over the frame to create the head although synthetic versions are now used. Some tars have a thumb hole or indentation in the frame to facilitate holding.
- Tars range from 10-22 inches in diameter but the most commonly used size is 16 inches.
- The tar is held upright in one hand and is struck with the fingers of that hand and the full hand and fingers of the other hand. The duff is known for its deep, haunting tones. (maryellendonald.com)