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JM | Sep 29, 2022

Kingston High School curbing violent incidents with music

/ Our Today

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Andrea Williams (right), student at Kingston High School, beats the drum with Jermaine Luton, principal at Kingston High School, during International Day of Peace activities at the school on September 21. Professor Elizabeth Ward (second left), chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance, and Romario Nelson, student at the school, shared in the moment.


Andrea Williams, student at Kingston High School, is defying gender norms as she takes up drumming.

The grade-nine student said she decided to join the school’s music club because she took a liking to the creative arts especially drumming because it is relaxing and brings enjoyment to her.

“I enjoy beating the rhythm and the enjoyment it gives the children,” she said.

Andrea is among a small group of girls who have joined the music club at her school.

The aspiring soldier said that while at home she would practice beating rhythms but decided to formalise the art by joining the music club and so far it has been rewarding.

Jermaine Luton, principal at Kingston High School, said in recent times the school has revived its music club and decided to include females in the club. He said the music has helped to curb violent incidents.

“The drumming contributes to peace of mind and allow them to relax and give them a vibe to express themselves,” he said.

“It is difficult for them coming back to school (following the pandemic) and adjusting to the norms. Coming back to a structured environment it is posing a little difficulty. So yes, we have some disciplinary issues with the students and we are working with them and I hope that as more students join the music club we can lessen the number of violent incidents we have in the school,” he informed.

“When you are frustrated and have anxiety at home, you talk it out. But in addition to that if you feel like you want to beat someone because you are angry, don’t beat them. If you have a drum, beat your drum.”

Professor David Akombo, dean of the Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

Professor David Akombo, dean of the Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, who was an invited guest of the Violence Prevention Alliance for International Peace Day, which was observed on September 21, also had a talk with the students at Kingston High School and Windward Road Primary School.

Akombo underscored the value of drumming. He said drumming is therapeutic, eases anxiety, promotes relaxation and reduces levels of burnout experience.

“When you are frustrated and have anxiety at home, you talk it out. But in addition to that if you feel like you want to beat someone because you are angry, don’t beat them. If you have a drum, beat your drum,” he advised the students.

Akombo also participated in drumming sessions with the students and taught them the art of playing the drum correctly.

Andrea Williams (right), student at Kingston High School, on the drum.

Luton said that, traditionally, Kingston High School is known for producing great musicians and musical talents such as Marcia Griffiths. He said the intention is to return the school to that former prominence.

“What we want to do is go back to the glory days where Kingston High was known as a school which produces musical stars. We want to put music in a way that Kingston High is known for music and positivity,” he said.

He however informed that the school would appreciate resources to improve its music department.

“Currently we do not have a proper music room. The room that is there is dilapidated and outdated. We have got some equipment so we need proper storage of equipment. Any donations of musical equipment would be welcomed,” he said.

International Peace Day was observed under the locally adopted theme ”End Violence. Build Peace’. 

This year, the VPA, and several partners commemorated the day through drumming circles in schools, children’s homes, at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and in inner-city communities such as Rose Town.

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