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Get Rhythm Programs – In the Media

Hear Me Out” John Scalici
By Lee Shook
















Some people march to the beat of their own drum, but for local percussionist John Scalici it’s more of a world music infused polyrhythm that has set him apart from most of his peers here in town. A longtime fixture in the local music community here that’s seen him pursue everything from cover bands and blues rock to tribal beats and high tech sample-based fusion, Scalici has developed into a one man band and inspirational drum teacher whose life has been dedicated to helping others find their own cadence through live performances and educational workshops.

A Birmingham native and self-taught musician who spent his formative teenage years playing along to records while dreaming of one day being in his own bands and playing on bigger stages, after starting his career in the mid-80s with Black Jacket Symphony founder J. Willoughby and bassist Rob Thorworth in the popular group The Newboys, it wasn’t until the band’s dissolution in 1990 that those lofty ambitions would become a reality after Scalici formed the blues-based power trio Gravy with Thorworth (now on guitar) and bassist Jay Johnson from the Plaid Camels in 1992. Mining material inspired by modern firebrands like Stevie Ray Vaughn, although the band got their start in the Magic City, it wouldn’t be until they moved to Destin, Florida in 1993 that they would find their first taste of success after becoming a mainstay at The Red Bar in Grayton Beach playing as one of the house bands alongside James Brown alum John “Jabo” Starks’ weekly jazz group, slowly building an audience for their hot new take on one of the roots of American music. Eventually moving back to Birmingham, upon arriving home the group would get signed to local startup label Kudzu Records, recording their first and only album, From The Hip, at his parents’ home and starting a touring regimen that would see them open up for everyone from Buddy Guy and the Allman Brothers to Gov’t Mule and Widespread Panic. Read the entire article…

Scalici teaches others to march to beat of their own drum
February 15,

“I don’t really consider myself a music teacher, but rather a music facilitator,” John Scalici said.

Scalici, a Birmingham native, is a world-renowned musician. Equipped with enough guitar and piano skills to get himself “into trouble,” his main instrumental passion lies with djembe drums. He can often be found at The Dance Foundation, 1715 27th Court S., sharing this passion through regular classes, as well as at drum circles around Birmingham.

The djembe drum has origins dating back to 1300 B.C. in West Africa. Scalici discovered the instrument and its history while living in Nashville and trying to develop “rhythm-based programs” to teach in schools. Read more…

Keeping the Rhythm
By Halley Herfurth

John Scalici Has Long believed that everyone should have access to music- specifically the ability to create music through drumming. From the banging out beats on empty file boxes as a kid, to owning his first drum set, to touring as a professional musician for more than a decade, drums have always been a part of Scalici’s life. Now, he is discovering new ways to share that passion with others. Read the entire article here.



Rhythm of the City


It’s not hard to find John Scalici.

If you hear the sound of drums anywhere in Birmingham, he’s probably there.

Scalici is a lifelong drummer, but he began leading drum circles about 15 years ago. He’s also someone I heard about long before Iron City Ink was a reality. From teachers to artists to amateur enthusiasts, if someone mentioned drumming to me, they also mentioned Scalici.

A drum jam isn’t just music to Scalici. It’s creative expression, community building and personal empowerment all crammed into a circle of hand drums.

Scalici’s job is to create the “pulse” of the circle, “something people can easily feel” as the rhythms change and drummers enter and leave the group.

“John truly is an icon in the city of Birmingham,” said John Powers, who has played with Scalici for eight years. “I think because his whole message is positivity, inclusivity and community.”

I played drums for many years when I was younger — shout-out to my short-lived high school band — but a drum circle is nothing like the orderly beats I was used to playing. The circle of hand drummers feels more organic and the sound is constantly shifting as people try out their own rhythms. “It takes every part working together,” Scalici said. Continue reading…

Making Musical Connections
A program offers creative ways to connect colleagues through the intentional design of a beat.
BY Hayley Mcdonald

InterviewThe Corporate environment can be a challenging place to immerse yourself, especially as an employee trying to connect with coworkers. With different levels of leadership or management, multiple offices in various locations or simply a disconnect between employees with different personalities, businesses often struggle in finding ways to unite their organizations into one pulse….moreMaking Musical Connections




Articles BY John
Drumming Up Diversity
Using Drum Circles to Educate and Entertain
by John Scalici

“But I don’t have any rhythm.”
“What if I make a fool of myself?”
“Wow! This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done!”
This is usually the sequence of comments most often heard regarding interactive rhythm-based programs — drum circles, for short. Because of the historical background of the “drum” and its unifying qualities, drum circle programs have become a powerful, interactive method for teachning us about ourselves, our communities and our world…. Read more Drumming Up Diversity






Drumming up Connections
Rhythm makes inroads in child psychiatry
by John Scalici

Drumming and rhythm can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety, while simultaneously satisfying many of the goals of the occupational therapist during a given session.

In June 2005, I was contacted by VSA Arts of Alabama (a non-profit organization that provides opportunities in the arts for people with chronic illnesses) to facilitate outcome-based rhythm and drumming activities with adolescent and child psychiatric patients at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL…more Drumming Up Connections




Allan Cott and Lakeview Groups Learn Important Life Skills through Drumming
by John Scalici

For thousands of years drumming has been used by almost every culture in the world. Not only does the physical nature of drumming [provide emotional release, it has been used as a tool for education and communication as well…. Read more Allan Cott and Lakeview Groups Learn Important Life Skills through Drumming







Articles ABOUT John


A passion for percussion: Birmingham’s John Scalici
By Michael Huebner — The Birmingham News

In addition to the Djembe, which is a 2-foot tall goblet-shaped drum, John Scalici draws inspiration from a variety of drums from around the globe.

Part performer, part anthropologist, part community organizer, part therapist, John Scalici has just about done it all, drumming-wise.

With the West African djembe at the core of his percussive passion, Scalici has opened drumming to countless individuals eager to pound, paradiddle or otherwise find their inner rhythm.

As a youngster, he banged on his mom’s pots and pans. ….Read more Drumming Up Diversity


Working Together
Unique seminars are popping up around the area to unite employees
by Aneesa McWilliam

Most managers would equate the thought of their staff banging on drums in a circle with other inappropriate office behaviors such as excessive e-mail usage or gabbing with unproductive co-workers who just won’t leave your desk.
But one local “teambuilder” sees things a little differently. He’s even taking drumming to another level by using its rhythm to bring coworkers together…..more Working Together








Rhythm of the Saints
Drummer John Scalici reaches students in their gut and soul
Rhythm of the Saints
Musician John Scalici has been marching to his own beat most of his life. For the past decade and a half, he has used that beat to help make connections with people from all walks of life, facilitating workshops and drumming programs for corporations, schools, and other groups throughout the United States and Japan. Scalici believes rhythm is a way of living a healthy, positive life full of inspiration and promise. Now Scalici is turning his attention to helping college students overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol. Read more… Rhythm of the Saints

John Scalici