Sally Childs-Helton

Sally Childs-Helton, Ph.D. (workshop facilitator, panel moderator) put down the flute at the age of 14, picked up drum sticks, and has never looked back. She is a percussionist, ethnomusicologist, music educator, and mentor with over 30 years of teaching and facilitating experience. Sally holds a B.M.E., and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology. Her teachers include David Darling, Glen Velez, and Arthur Hull. She is a co-founder of the Midwest Drumming and Dance Festival, and a certified Music for People improvisation teacher. Sally also facilitates two annual women’s drumming weekends ( the fall WomenDrum event (going into its 11th season) and the Ladies’ Spring Fling Drum Thing (going into its 5th season).

Sally's areas of expertise include hand drums and ethnic percussion, music improvisation, classical percussion, and performance anxiety management. Dr. Childs-Helton teaches world music and ethnomusicology at the university level; conducts drumming and improvisation workshops around the country, in Canada, and Britain; and accompanies dance and movement therapy, Susurrus Artists, Inc., the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, and various theater productions. She composes scores for dance and percussion accompaniment for choral works. Sally and her husband perform around the U.S., Britain, and Canada as a duo, and with Wild Mercy, an eclectic Celtic band. When not playing music, she is the archivist at Butler University, and a student of hand book binding, paper making, and marbling.

Sally believes almost anything can (and probably should) be a percussion instrument. She especially enjoys working with beginners of all ages, "re-beginners" who are returning to playing music, persons with visible and invisible disabilities, and with all people who are willing to discover their ability to create original, powerful, meaningful music. She also welcomes collaboration with other performing and visual artists, and encourages people to express their creativity in as many art forms as possible. Sally creates a safe, supportive, and playful environment for musical, creative, and personal growth.