Amy’s passion for drumming began in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1960′s around the age of 10. She played on everything she could get her hands on which included her next door neighbors Ludwig drum set, furniture, world book encyclopedias, and yes, the dashboard. In 2002, after years of playing on various percussive instruments, the djembe is the instrument that really spoke to her heart. She took her first djembe class in 2002 with Chuck Cogliandro as a way to do something fun with her 16 year old daughter. She has been playing the djembe ever since.
Amy is a Certified Beginner Djembe Instructor with Mamady Keita‘s International Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy, and a Certified Associate Instructor with Tam Tam Mandingue Winston-Salem, director TTM Professor Bill Scheidt. TTM W-S is the 17th school of initiated master drummer, Mamady Keita’s international network of djembe schools, whose mission is to preserve and teach the traditional rhythms of the Mandingue, as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding, equality and international peace.
Since 2003, Amy has been active in the all women’s percussion group, ConunDrums. ConunDrums performs for events and festivals around the Atlanta area, and she currently serves as the group’s musical director.
Tying in with her 30 year career as a nurse, Amy became interested in the benefits of drumming as a tool for health and wellness. Amy is a trained facilitator of HealthRHYTHMS™, a group rhythm program which has been shown in scientific studies to strengthen the immune system and reduce stress. Drumming has also been used in the treatment of depression, and anger management and has been shown to be a powerful mode of experiential therapy in working with troubled children and adolescents. Amy completed a year long training with Tom Harris, Director of Therapeutic Drumming at Youth Villages’ Inner Harbour campus in November 2010, and is now a Certified Youth Villages Therapeutic Drumming Instructor , applying her skills as a drumming facilitator in behavioral health settings.
Because different types of groups have different needs, Amy has studied other approaches to drum circle facilitation with Kalani of Drum Circle Music™ and Arthur Hull of Village Music Circles™. She is a team member with Jana Broder’sDrum Magic™ and has worked as a guest facilitator with John Scalici of Get Rhythm™, Dave Holland of Beatin’ Path™ and Scott Swimmers’ drumSTRONG™.
To further her studies of the djembe, Amy joined a group of dedicated, passionate, and professional drummers that play traditional West African music, called Ten Blocks Away. TBA has been performing for enthusiastic crowds in Atlanta and West Georgia since 2006.
Amy’s study of the djembe is never ending and she wishes to thank the many teachers and dear friends who have helped her to grow as a person, a student, a musician, and as a teacher. These include Initiated Djembe Grandmasters from Guinea, West Africa, Mamady Keita, whom she studies with on an ongoing basis, and Famoudou Konate, Guinean djembefolas Aly Camara, Fode Camara , Mohamed DaCosta, Mali artist Madou Dembele, Ghana artist Weedie Braimah, Tam Tam Mandingue Washington, D. C. director Mahiri Keita Edwards, Tam Tam Mandingue Winston-Salem director, Bill Scheidt, Tam Tam Mandingue San Diego director, Monette Marino-Keita with Certified Teacher Ali Thomas, and locally in Atlanta, her bandmates Chuck Cogliandro and Tam Tam Mandingue Certified Teacher, Colleen Caffrey! She wishes to thank her teachers of the balafon, Abou Sylla and Lansana Camara of Guinea, West Africa , Jeremy Tiani Tarr, her teachers of West African percussive dance, Marietou Cisse and Fatim Minor, and her teachers of African Dance, Marietou Cisse, Youssouf Koumbassa, Leah Roy, Kathleen Moloney-Tarr, and the Atlanta based West African Dancers Uhuru Dancers, and Giwayen Mata, and Christan Poret.
On August 21, 2012, Amy became a Certified Taketina rhythm teacher after a 3 year intensive TaKeTiNa teacher training with creator Reinhard Flatischler and co-developer Cornelia Flatischler.