Darrell Rose enjoys teaching drumming classes at The Hive, and it turns out that he’s not the only one having fun. A recent Saturday afternoon class drew 35 children who couldn’t wait to get into the groove.
“They started drumming before I got everything organized, so that shows how enthusiastic they are,” the drummer, visual artist and teacher said with a chuckle. Another five-week session of the drumming class is scheduled for July. “When you hear a 3-year-old meeting another 3-year-old and asking, ‘Are you coming next week?’, that’s how you know it’s something special.”
Passing along ancient African drumming traditions, age-appropriate music theory concepts and the sheer joy of rhythm brings Rose deep satisfaction, and he has been gradually scaling back his extensive performing and touring career to make more time for his passions for teaching and painting.
Rose will present “Art As Music/Music As Art” at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Hive. It’s a chance for people to hear him perform on African stringed instruments and on drums while he’s surrounded by about 15 of his paintings.
For fans of Rose’s music who didn’t realize he has been juggling a visual art career with his packed musical schedule for years, here’s your chance to see his work in Charlottesville before it heads out to larger markets.
“Saturday will be art and some dialogue, and I’ll play a solo concert,” he said. “I’ll talk about the techniques and the different instruments.”
Rose isn’t leaving Charlottesville behind; he’s just following his heart into his evolving priorities. He still will perform with Positive Collective, a popular reggae band led by longtime friend Chris Leva, but his hectic touring career will downshift to allow more time for creativity.
He plans to “just teach and have a more normal life than just travel,” Rose said. “I’ll be concentrating more on my paintings and just enjoy life here.”
While Rose sticks closer to home, his paintings will be doing the traveling. Rose’s art already can be seen at the University of Santa Cruz in Mexico and Texas A&M University, as well as in Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; and many private collections. Saturday’s event will give local fans a chance to see his recent artworks before they head out into the world.
“I’m trying to stretch out to bigger markets,” Rose said, naming San Francisco and London as likely possibilities. “It’s time to stretch. As I grow with the arts process, the paintings have to grow outside their immediate environment.”
Rose said catching the exhibit and the concert also will give audience members a chance to discover The Hive, if they haven’t already.
“The Hive is a wonderful place. It’s an environment where you can take children to do crafts and to learn arts,” he said. “It’s a very open and friendly environment. The families doing crafts love the music.”
In addition to his time at The Hive, Rose has taught at Mountaintop Montessori for 21 years and Field School of Charlottesville for 11. He also teaches at The International School of Charlottesville and Tandem Friends School.
“It’s best to start music with youth not in the fourth or fifth grade, but at 4 or 5 years old,” Rose said. “I didn’t have that luxury when I was young."
Working with younger students arms them with basics of rhythm and meter that will give them an edge in formal music study in the future, he said. The classes focus not only on African drumming and percussion traditions, but also on dynamics, stage presence and ensemble; children learn to listen to the music, and to each other.
Rose was thrilled to see a group of 50 of his 4- and 5-year-old students at The International School present “an almost letter-perfect holiday program” of Caribbean and parade rhythms for their parents and friends. He enjoys meeting — and often teaching— the children of former students.
“I’ve seen families with Mom and Dad pushing a buggy, and the dad says, ‘You taught me when I was in the fifth grade,’’’ Rose said. “Those are moments that I cherish.
“I’m so blessed to be where I am and just take it and share it with the next generations.”
Tickets for Saturday’s evening with Rose are $5. Learn more at thehivecville.com.