Robert J. Damm

Professional Activity

I. Research

Robert J. Damm Robert J. Damm

Book Publication

  • Repertoire, Authenticity, and Instruction: The Presentation of American Indian Music in Oklahoma’s Elementary Schools (2000). New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc
    This study provides new information regarding the instruction of American Indian music in Oklahoma, and shows the effect of demographic variables of teachers and students on pedagogical context and practice.

    • Congratulations on your fine study!  This is the sort of critical inquiry that must continue to be undertaken, so that the transformation of music in education can occur — not some superficial change, but rather the monumental reform of the content and delivery of music to young people.  You've done a marvelous job of it, and your work will no doubt serve as a model for others (Patricia Shehan Campbell).
    • The research is first rate and the results are rather startling (John Wunder).
    • I am happy to see such a down to earth summary and analysis of the materials available and the methods used for teaching Native American music in elementary schools.  Your book is a valuable compilation of what is available.  Congratulations on a very useful and well-rounded piece of work (David P. McAllester).

Refereed Journal Publications

  • “Pinkster”, Percussive Notes (May 2017)

  • “African Drumming and Drum Circles”, Percussive Notes (Jul. 2017)

  • “The Positive Effects of Drumming on Children with Autism”, with Dr. Stephen Workman, Percussive Notes (Jul. 2017)

  • “Three Hand Drum Duets” with Ricky Burkhead, Percussive Notes (Mar. 2017)

  • “A Drum Circle Enhances a Day of Percussion” PAS Rhythm! Scene (Dec. 2015)

  • “Recreational Drum Circles for University Students” Percussive Notes (Dec. 2015)

  • “The Origins of the Fanga Dance” Music Educators Journal (Sep. 2015)

  • “Remembering Bamboula” Percussive Notes (Jul. 2015)

  • “The Jembe in Mali: Bassidi Kone and MarakaPercussive Notes (Jan. 2013)

  • “Sharde Thomas and Mississippi Fife and Drum” Percussive Notes (Jan. 2013)

  • “Fanga: Drum, Dance, & Rhythm” Percussive Notes (Nov. 2012)

  • “Fanga Alafia: History and Meaning” (reprint) Ostinato – The National Journal of Carl Orff Canada (Fall 2011).

  • “Fanga Alafia: History and Meaning” Orff Echo (Winter 2011).
    Special Issue: Music We Bring into the Classroom; Folk.

  • “Rudimental Classics: Hell on the Wabash” Percussive Notes (Mar. 2011).

  • “Rudimental Classics: The Downfall of Paris” Percussive Notes (Jan. 2011).

  • “Rudimental Classics: Yankee Doodle” Percussive Notes (Nov. 2010).

  • “Rudimental Classics: The Three Camps” Percussive Notes (July 2010).

  • “Education through Collaboration: Learning the Arts while Celebrating Culture” Music Educators Journal (Nov. 2006).

  • “Gareth Farr’s Kembang Suling: Three Musical Snapshots of Asia Percussive Notes (Feb. 2006).

  • “Adventures in Samba With Carnaval in Sao PauloThe Instrumentalist (Sept. 2004).

  • “Do You Udu?” Percussive Notes (Dec. 2003).

  • “John Bergamo’s Four Pieces For Timpani: A Performance Guide” Percussive Notes (Oct. 1995).

Selected Recordings

  • Ridin' a Chicken (2017)
    Big Joe Shelton and the Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors
    Robert Damm, drums and percussion

  • Babatunde's Ubuntu Band (2013)
    Celebration: Contemporary world music composed by Damm, Gray, & McCann
    Robert Damm, drums and percussion
    Available at

  • I'd Never Let Her Down (2013)
    Big Joe Shelton and the Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors
    Robert Damm, drums and percussion
    Available at

  • Sounds And Places (2007)
    Original music composed and performed by Robert Damm, percussion & Edwin Daniel, guitar
    Available at

  • Hand to Hand: A Collection of Rhythmic Works for Hand Percussion (2007)
    includes Udu Dances and Ritmos De Congas
    Published by HoneyRock:

  • State Messengers (2003)
    Classic jazz pieces performed by the MSU faculty jazz ensemble
    Robert Damm, drumset

Original Compositions Published

  • Improvisation for Six Timpani (2010)
    HaMar Percussion Publications, Inc.
    Solo for six timpani, various mallets, and several small instruments

  • Pachelbel Island (2007)
    Reggae-style adaptation of  Johann Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D” for percussion ensemble by Michael Michel and Robert J. Damm

  • Ritmos De Congas (2005)
    For three congas with CD accompaniment; the work includes patterns in eight distinct Cuban and Brazilian musical styles

  • Udu Dances (2001)
    Suite of 3 solo pieces for udu

  • WorldBeat Sonata (2001)
    Percussion ensemble

  • Hoo‑Daiko (2001)
    For percussion ensemble; inspired by Japanese taiko drumming

Shaker Man

Presentations at Conferences

  • National (2017) Workshop: African Drumming in Drum Circles
    Also presented Interactive Rhythm Games and Fun Percussion Ensembles workshop for Rhythm Discovery Day, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Indianapolis, IN

  • State (2016) Performance with Eupora High School Band:
    Adventures in samba with “Carnival in Sao Paulo”
    Mississippi Band Masters State Band Clinic, Natchez, MS

  • National (2016) Workshop: Stories and Drumming
    Rhythm Discovery Day @PASIC 2016. 
    Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Indianapolis, IN.

  • National (2015) Workshop: Drum Circles for University Students
    also served on panel discussion: "Engage Your Community"
    and facilitated Rhythm Lounge drum circle
    Percussive Arts Society International Convention, San Antonio, TX

  • State (2015) Clinic: Drum Circle
    Day of Percussion sponsored by PAS & Northeast Mississippi Percussion Association
    Hinds Community College, Raymond, MS

  • National (2013) Lecture-Recital: Pearl Primus and the Fanga: Dance of Welcome
    Robert Damm and K. Marie Gilmore
    National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music
    Birmingham, AL

  • State (2012) Clinic: World Drumming lecture recital with Ricky Burkhead
    Percussive Arts Society — MS Day of Percussion
    Jackson State University, Jackson, MS

  • State (2011) Clinic: Hand Drumming
    Day of Percussion sponsored by PAS & Northeast Mississippi Percussion Association
    Itawamba Community College, Fulton, MS

  • Regional (2011) Poster Session: Fanga
    College Music Society, Southern Chapter, Memphis, TN

  • Local-Regional (2010) Fanga
    MSU African American Studies Colloquium Series: Black Studies
    Open to all scholars regardless of their institutional affiliation or department

  • State-Regional (2010) Presentation: America's Musical Journey
    Mississippi Arts Commission's Whole School Initiative Summer Institute, Meridian, MS

  • State-Regional (2009) Presentation: Drum Circles
    Mississippi Arts Commission’s Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute, Oxford, MS

  • National (2008)
    Robert Damm, Sheri Falcone, Elaine Peterson, and Rose Sebba
    College Music Society, National Conference, Atlanta, GA
    Lecture-Recital: Choro for Everyone

  • Regional (2008)
    Robert Damm, Jackie Edwards-Henry, and Lana Johns
    College Music Society, South Central-Southern SuperRegional Conference, Baton Rouge, LA Lecture-Recital: A Jam Session In The Delta

  • National (2007)
    Robert Damm, Susie Marshall, and Churchill Elementary School
    National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music (NASPAAM)
    Professional Conference, Jackson, MS
    Concert: Education through Collaboration: Celebrating African Music

  • Regional (2002)
    Robert Damm and Andrew May
    Southeaster Composers League, Macon, GA
    Recital: Ghost Dance for violin and doumbec

  • National (2002)
    Robert Damm and Lana Johns
    College Music Society, National Conference, Kansas City, MO
    Lecture-Recital: Three Musical Snapshots of Asia

  • Regional (2002)
    Robert Damm and Lana Johns
    College Music Society, Southern Chapter Meeting, Jackson, TN
    Lecture-Recital: Characteristics of Indian Music Found in Lou Harrison’s “Ariadne”

  • International (2001)
    Hoo-Daiko performed at the 2001 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Nashville, TN:
    New Works for Percussion Ensemble


  • Delta Suite for Flute, Piano, and Percussion (2006)
    Composed by Tucker Robison
    Featuring musical styles which originated in Louisiana and Mississippi
    Written for Lana Johns, Jackie Edwards, and Robert Damm

  • How Sweet The Moonlight Sleeps for flute and percussion (2003)
    Composed by Duncan MacMillan
    Featuring lullabies from around the world
    Written for and dedicated to Robert Damm and Lana Johns

  • Ghost Dances for violin and darabukka (2002)
    Composed by Andrew May
    Written for and dedicated to Robert Damm

  • Offshore…Sand Key, Florida for piano, ocean drum, and waterphone (2002)
    Composed by Duncan MacMillan
    Written for and dedicated to Robert Damm

  • Caribbean Sketch for flute and steel drums (2001)
    Composed by Mark Francis
    Written for Robert Damm and Lana Johns

II. Teaching

Robert J. Damm

Courses Taught Currently

  • MUE 8412      World Drumming
    An introduction to drum techniques, traditional rhythms, performance practices, ensemble organization, and musical concepts of selected world drumming traditions.

  • MUE 8363      Research in Music Education
    Research methodology; research reports, the function of research in developing and conducting educational programs; and research methods, designs, and techniques used in education.

  • MUE 2012      World Music
    A survey of non-Western musics and music cultures of the world.  The course will serve as an introduction to the discipline of ethnomusicology, the study of music in the context of culture.

  • MU 1103         African-American Music
    A study of African musical and cultural traditions with focus on the impact of these traditions on the development and advancement of African‑American music.  Topics covered include the African legacy, the African Diaspora, slave festivals in the African tradition, storytelling, the Black Church, camp meetings, minstrelsy, the anti‑slavery movement, the underground railroad, spirituals, the ring shout, music nationalism, ragtime, the blues, the jazz age, the Harlem Renaissance, gospel new developments in jazz, popular music, rhythm & blues, soul, rock & roll, hip hop and rap.

  • MUE 4886, 4896         Teaching Internship in Music Education
    A professional full-day public school teaching experience in two consecutive placements or one 16-week placement in diverse settings under the direction of supervising teachers and a university supervisor.

  • MUE 4873         Professional Seminar in Music Education
    A seminar dealing with legal, professional, administrative, and curriculum issues as they relate to music education in the schools.

  • MUE 1001         Recreational Drum Circles
    Drums and other percussion instruments provide an exhilarating and engaging experience in rhythm, ensemble, and improvisation. Class members will experience the unique enjoyment of in-the-moment music and the many extra-musical outcomes emphasized in recreational drum circles. No prior drumming experience is required!

Courses Taught Previously

EDF 8363 Functions & Methods of Research in Education
MUE 4886, 4896 Teaching Internship (Student Teaching) in Music Education
MUE 4873 Professional Seminar in Music Education
MUE 4511 Marching Band Techniques
MU 4322 Band Arranging
MUE 3523 Instrumental Methods and Materials
MUE 3243 Planning & Managing Learning in Music Education 
MUE 3001 Practicum in Music Education
MUE 1113 History and Appreciation of Music
MUA 1610, 2610, 3610 Applied Percussion
MU 4990 Percussion Ensemble
MUE 3241 Percussion Class
MUE 3123 Creative Arts for Elementary and Middle Levels

Additional Teaching

  • Starkville School District's Family-Centered Programs
    Enrichment Camp: Music 2009, 2008, 2007 (4th – 8th graders)
    Assets (After-school summer equals total success)
    Recreational drumming for children at Boys and Girls Club after-school program

  • Golden Triangle Home-schooling/Community Music School
    Preschool Music 2007, 2006 (children ages 4-6)
    Orff-based curriculum featuring a range of spontaneous and structured experiences in singing, moving, listening, and playing instruments.

    World Drumming 2008, 2007 (children ages 7-12)
    Percussion ensemble playing, duplicating the tonal-rhythmic patterns of speech, and improvisation.

  • Crossroads
    After-school program 2007 (academically at-risk middle school students)
    The Columbus Arts Council provides the cultural enrichment component for this Mississippi Department of Education Office of Innovation and School Improvement program.

  • Columbus Arts Council's Summer Arts Camps
    World Rhythms: Drums and Dance 2008 (children ages 10-13)
    Go Green (Recycling): Drumming and Painting 2008 (children ages 5-9)

III. Service

Robert J. Damm

Director of Music Education Partnerships

My mission is to increase meaningful collaborations between professional musicians and K-12 public school students through programs which emphasize creativity, celebrate cultural diversity, and strengthen musical skills and knowledge.

Support is provided by the Music Department and…

  • The Lois C. Kaufman Endowment For Music Education established to support programs associated with sharing information and ideas about the music of world cultures.

  • The Robert B. Holland Music For All Fund established to utilize the strength of the university to empower public schools and especially schools that serve disadvantaged children.

    “Robert Damm's work in that area — especially bringing music from different cultures to children who otherwise would not experience it — is a model for university-school partnerships. Robert Holland sought to democratize the arts and literature in his actions and words. I see that spirit alive in Robert Damm's work.” — Melissa Holland

  • The Betterworth Leadership Lecture Series which provides presentations from Mississippi State’s most stimulating faculty members, discussing the subjects in which they have expertise.  These faculty members make presentations at high school and community colleges throughout the state. Dr. Damm has given African Drumming workshops and concerts throughout Mississippi.