"Jaqui is the leader of the RockHouse Arts Foundation After School: African Drumming program we have at Margaret Brent Elementary School in Baltimore, MD. Each week, Jaqui teaches traditional African rhythms and songs to as many as twelve kids. It's a challenging task because the school is in one of the poorest and toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore City. Earning the respect of these children is HARD. But they LOVE Jaqui. And they keep coming back to her week after week. In fact, for the 2011-2012 school year, Jaqui and the RockHouse After School: African Drumming program was recognized for the best attendance and participation for an after-school program! The average attendance of over 90% for each after-school drumming session with Jaqui is better than most inner city schools can achieve for regular classes. Why is the after school drumming so popular? It's in the music and the teacher! Jaqui's RockHouse students see the love and light in her. It is making a difference in their lives and empowering them every time their drum makes a sound. Thank you, Jaqui!"
- Dan Ostrowski, RockHouse Arts Foundation, Inc., Baltimore, MD
"I wanted to thank you for giving our group an incredible evening of drumming. It was everything you said it would be and more--creative, collaborative, meditative, inspiring, silly, fun and so so joyful!! You are a remarkably gifted person and you've really found your calling Jaqui. Every single person remarked on how special the evening was--all because of you. I feel really, really lucky that I found you."
- S. Puritz, Chevy Chase, MD
"When I first started taking drum lessons with Jaqui five years ago, at the age of thirteen, I had no sense of rhythm. Now, I'm going to be playing my Djembe in my college's World Drum Ensemble, all thanks to her. She not only teaches her students traditional African songs, but also instills a sense of rhythm that allows students to play their instruments well with others. Jaqui has been doing this for decades, and clearly is still as motivated to teach as she was when she first began. She sincerely cares about the advancement of her students' skills and I highly recommend her."
- Micah Cohen, Washington, DC, (2013)
"Part of the joy of coming to the drumming classes is watching Jaqui. Listening to her, too, of course, but the joy on her face: her smile, eyes sometimes closed lost in the rhythm of the song. It is a beautiful and inspiring thing to behold. For it's not just in her hands; it comes from some place inside her. The drum becomes an extension of her, that place in your head and heart where the music begins. Thank you, Jaqui, for teaching us, for sharing your spirit with us and for letting us watch you make the drum sing."
- JL, Washington DC
Babatunde Olatunji and Jaqui, 1996
Jaqui and Valerie Narnajo, 2005, at PASIC in
Jim Donovan and Jaqui, 2007
"Jaqui made the road for me and many other women who now have access to drumming and drum teaching careers. I once asked Jaqui for advice re: teaching drumming to beginners and she simply said I should imagine I'm hanging out with my closest friends, showing them a few things so we can all drum together. This philosophy, along with Jaqui's courage, (early on), in braving the rapids of the drum world have helped me and many others to become successful drummers and drum teachers."
- Kristen Arant, Drum Lady, Washington, DC
"Got soooo much from your drum workshop at FSG... This was the first drum workshop that really spoke to me and helped it all click for me so that I'd want to learn more. Thank you! Your enthusiasm is infectious."
- Mari-Anne Mahlau, Budd Lake, NJ, (FSG 2010)
Jaqui and Kalani, 2005, at the
Seattle World Rhythm Festival
"No matter your skill level, Jaqui shares her joy and you feel so successful, her style is sure, gentle and nourishing for the rhythm which lies within all of us."
- Thomas Deerheart, PA
"Jaqui has a natural gift not only for playing the drum but teaching the drum as well. I look forward to her classes every week as a treat to myself. She makes the classes so enjoyable I sometimes forget I am learning! I would recommend Jaqui’s classes to anyone because she is extremely genuine, level-headed, and encouraging …not to mention a total delight to her students!"
– Jessica Colon, LCPC, Washington, DC
Arthur Hull and Jaqui, 2002
"Jaqui is an awesome teacher, she broke rhythms down in a way that didn't hurt my head. Instead of counting with numbers, we used words. Also, she was all about encouraging you to play in the flow. It felt very cohesive without being controlling, excellent facilitation. I would definitely take a workshop from her again and highly recommend her as someone with a very positive spirit and the ability to teach well. Good teachers are hard to find."
- Cleetus, Frederick, MD
"Jaqui MacMillan is a rare kind of musician who can both play and teach exceptionally well. Her vast training with several drumming masters is evident the moment she makes a sound on the drum. Each time I see her work, I am always struck with her ability to connect to the participants with warmth and joy. Jaqui is someone who truly loves people and wants to see them progress."
- Jim Donovan, Rusted Root, Jim Donovan Music, (September 2009)
Jaqui and Mickey Hart, 2001, backstage at the
Babatunde Olatunji Birthday Bash, NY
"You have inspired me to continue drumming purely for the joy of it. Thanks."
- DT, Reading, PA
"Aside from being an amazing drummer and teacher, she has such a beautiful aura about her and a smile that lights up all around her."
- Michelle Swan, Washington DC
"I consider Jaqui MacMillan to be one of the more important modern renaissance hand drummers of our time. She is a 'jack of all trades' and well on her way to mastering many of them. Her vast culturally specific knowledge, expansive rhythmical expertise, and her masterful drum circle facilitation abilities are only surpassed by a heart that is as big as her smile. She expresses her bliss with the true passion of one who is fully invested in sharing her rhythmical spirit with others. It is obvious to me that, as an elder in training, Jaqui MacMillan's legacy to our drumming community is just beginning to be revealed."
- Arthur E. Hull, Village Music Circles, (December 2004)
Jaqui drumming with author and humanitarian, Stetson Kennedy, at his 93rd birthday celebration, Washington, DC.
Jaqui and Mamady Keita, 2000,
Tam Tam Mandingue, Washington, DC
Jaqui and Vinx, 2005, at PASIC in
Kristen Arant and Jaqui, 2017
"Many of you probably know who Jaqui MacMillan is from seeing her perform. She is also an awesome drum teacher! She makes learning to play the drum fun and really easy. Her joy of drumming is shared with all who come to her Drum For Joy classes. When I'm at an outdoor festival where she is teaching, I can always tell when she's teaching, even from far away. Her drum circles sound professional and together within an hour of her teaching them, no matter what the skill level of the participants when she started the class. If you have the availability to join one of her classes, I recommend that you jump at the chance. It's a great opportunity for you to learn from one of the best drum teachers on the planet!"
- Ariana, KIVA, Bowie, MD
"Jaqui's drum for joy classes have enabled me to find and connect with my hidden musical talent and inner delight. I have found that even though my voice is untrained, I can make my drum sing!"
- Carol Mermey, Takoma Park, MD
"I can see love and light coming from Jaqui, I could see it from the first time I met her (in the '80's). She is a beautiful spirit and a very talented drummer. As her first teacher, I am very proud of her accomplishments. She has much love to give and gives it to many through her teaching and her drumming ... this is in her nature."
- Babatunde Olatunji, (March 4, 2001)
Jaqui and Daveed Korup, 2003, at the
Drum and Splash Festival, PA
"The Drum For Joy workshop was the most fun out of all that I have experienced. Jaqui has a wonderful command of the drum and the group, she has great enthusiasm, promotes a feeling of unity and joy in a unique way, is accommodating and accessible."
- DL, Wernersville, PA, (Bumbada Retreat, 2010)
Jaqui and Sule Greg Wilson, 2010,
Common Ground on the Hill, MD