James Cannon



Charleston County, SC


  • Music

Geographical Availability

  • Upstate
  • Midlands
  • PeeDee
  • Low Country


Artist Bio

James Cannon teaches percussion master classes and artist-in-residencies throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina. He has been sharing his love of West African music through school residencies since 2005. During the 2022-23 school year, Mr. Cannon brought his drumming residency to Bonner Elementary, Chicora Elementary, Devon Forest Elementary, and Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary. James Cannon studied West African drumming with Mohamed DaCosta and Dr. B. Michael Williams at Winthrop University where he received his B.M. and M.M. degrees in music performance. In addition to teaching artist-in-residencies, James Cannon is the band director at First Baptist School of Charleston, teaches an elementary drum line after-school club at Howe Hall AIMS, and has a private percussion lesson studio. He also provides weekly percussion instruction to Lowcountry band programs including Stratford High, Hanahan High, Hanahan Middle, and Marrington Middle School of the Arts. James Cannon performs regularly on the Charleston jazz scene on drum set.

Artist Statement

Student-centered, hands-on, percussion-driven, West African drumming residencies! I am committed to providing a high quality, hands-on drumming experience focusing on the musical traditions of western Africa to schools and communities throughout South Carolina. During this drumming workshop, students will learn a selection of rhythms and songs from West Africa. Students will learn about the geography, history, and musical cultures of Africa while learning to play the djembe and dundun drums. Drums will be provided. A typical residency lasts 5 days and culminates with a student led performance on the final day. Workshops can be scheduled for more or fewer days.

Drumming is a powerful tool for building community and creating positive change. It can be used to bring people together from different backgrounds, to celebrate cultural diversity, and to promote peace and understanding. I have seen firsthand how drumming helps people build confidence, express themselves creatively, and work better together as a team. For children, drumming can help to develop hand-eye coordination, motor skills, spatial awareness and improve focus and concentration. For adults, drumming can be a great way to relieve stress, improve physical fitness, and connect with others.