Ruckus into rhythm

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Young children drum along to instructions from M2 Executive Director Marc Anderson as he teaches them to keep rhythm on buckets.

NEW ULM — The library was raucous Thursday during an event that took the saying about trash and treasure seriously.

Junk Funk used old buckets as drums to teach children about keeping rhythm and show how accessible music can be.

“Group music-making is a mindful activity, it’s a healthy activity and it is a joyous activity,” M2 Foundation Executive Director Marc Anderson said. “Music is accessible to everybody, it is not just for people that are specialized in it.”

Anderson started by having the children repeat simple patterns back to him. First he used only low notes created by hitting the center of the buckets. Then he added in higher notes from striking the rim.

The rhythms slowly got more and more complicated and faster. Anderson took a break to define a rhythm as a repeatable pattern of sound.

He moved onto the same call and response but drumming with hands on knees and chests, before finally closing the afternoon out with a simple song.

Junk Funk is a program of the M2 Foundation based in St. Paul. It is a four-year-old program, but recently changed its name.

The program started as Rhythm of the Saints because Anderson and his colleagues would play at St. Paul Saints games.

The non profit M2 is an organization focused on creating a culture of connection via mindfulness exercises.

“Really anything can be a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness means ‘to pay attention,'” Anderson said. “It does mean ‘to pay attention’ in a certain way. When you are really playing music it is the same kind of attention that you are doing when you are meditating or playing a sport.”

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at