These are the homemade drums that are causing such a stir in the drumming for wellness scene this year.
Tube drums, made from heavy cardboard cylinders are currently THE RAGE, thanks to facilitator and founder of the Eldermusic group at Yahoo, Annie O'Shea.
The idea of using heavy cardboard concrete forms, used for pouring concrete, for drums is not entirely new. Banek and Scoville described such tube drums in their book Sound Designs years ago, but they used goatskin and were a little different, hanging in different lengths, different pitches from a rope or cable.
When working with groups, it is very useful to have a wide range of timbres available, that the group might behave somewhat like a band or orchestra. its very helpful to have a 'Mama' drum of some sort, holding down the bottom so the other instruments can float around and experiment.
Enter the lowly laundry tub. We first saw this particular type of tub used in Stomp, and of course it was miked to the hilt, and thunderous, riotously played by a bundle of energy who obviously knew what she was doing... Even unmiked, and played by newbies, it has a good deal of depth and power, although it won't work as well for big & loud circles..it seems that the softness of the plastic, usually a drawback in such cases, adds to the warmth and roundness of the tone. The two thicknesses on the bottom make for two distinct notes, an added boon. The handles come in handy too, no pun intended.. sound samples and sample rhythms are forthcoming.
Shakers are among the oldest of musical instruments, almost certainly a found instrument in the beginning. After all, a calabash gourd, left to dry for a month or two, will be a crude shaker when you pick it up. Someone somewhere in the pre-dawn of music making must surely have picked up a dry gourd, shook it, and and went "Wow", and brought it home for later ;-) Thus perhaps the first collection of percussion instruments began.
Gourds are always an excellent source for making shakers and shekeres, instruments of all kinds. As a matter of fact, I planted a batch of ipu seeds from the Gourd Connection this week, and four have come up so far, so next year, we may have some nice gourd shaker making articles for you.
We call polycarbonate resin containers "Moondrums" because they're the first drum light enough to be carried into space...the underrated sound source of the 21st century. We began using and experimenting with them in 1994. They have served us well, lightweight and reliable tools, whether with a batch of kids in a school or community center somewhere, in the streets of Downtown Dallas and Fort Worth, or in a recording studio somewhere. When played with the hands, they take on a dreamlike, reflective quality, and played with one wrapped stick or mallet and one hand they are useful in drum circle situations, where a loud instrument is a must...
The coffee can drum is a portable, versatile, inexpensive drum, an ideal "first Drum project. It responds well to a thin stick, with techniques that vary from scrapng and striking the side of the can to one hand/one stick techniques not unlike those used on sabar, Mandinka drums, or certain Brazilian instruments..
When you use your imagination to make or find percussion instruments for yourself, you are following a tradition that stretches back thousands of years to the dawn of human music making. It's an essential part of being a percussionist.
This is only a starting place for ideas. Think outside the box... or the egg, as the case may be...
Join us June 24, 25, 26, 2011 in Greensburg, PA for Jim Donovan's Drumming Facilitator & Teacher Training
Jim Donovan's Drumming Facilitator & Teacher Training is a three day intensive training designed to empower you to create your own rhythm and drumming based events. You will learn the skills, concepts and philosophical foundation that will assist you in designing and facilitating meaningful, effective and successful experiences for any group you work with.
Drumming on the Edge of Leadership: Hand Drumming and Leadership Skills for the New Millennium
Mikenas, Edward E. PERCUSSIVE NOTES. February 2003.
The 20th Century ended with a bang in several ways. A new awareness of the value of leadership training, our growing understanding of the uses of hand percussion, and the trickle-down of quantum concepts into everyday thinking have set the stage for dramatic positive change.
Modern culture has realized that leadership is a valuable quality to develop in individuals for the benefit of the entire community—world or local. The African phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” made the point that everyone is important for a child’s well being, and that the child represents our future. Corporations and government moved from a hierarchical paradigm to the team concept as a way of optimizing ideas and resources, thus creating the need for team leaders. Localities undertook programming to determine “natural” leaders as a way of effecting change in neighborhoods. Middle management became leaders instead of managers.
These changes did not come easily for many due to a long industrial history of “top-down” thinking. Because leaders serve as role models for those they lead, “character education” has now become fashionable in public schools. This teamfocused way of perceiving people and work, while challenging to manage at times, does result in more productivity. A side effect is a more flexible workforce, and flexibility translates into adaptability —the hallmark of all life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be an extremely debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was merely threatened. Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include violent armed conflict like that of Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi, and Sudan. Others may include personal assaults such as rape or mugging, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat such as the veterans who are serving in Iraq or those who served in Vietnam and the Gulf Wars; rescue workers involved in the aftermath of disasters of the World Trade Center, survivors of accidents, rape, physical and sexual abuse, and other crimes; immigrants fleeing violence in their countries; survivors of the 1998 Nairobi US Embassy Bombing among others.
Effective treatments have now been developed to help people with PTSD. Research is also helping more scientists to better understand the condition and how it affects both the brain and body. Different forms of music such as drumming are becoming an important therapeutic tool. Drumming exercises greatly reduce stress among Vietnam veterans and other victims of trauma, apparently by altering their brain-wave patterns.
Part 1 Pulse, Cycles, Subdivision, Space and Accents
1. Find a pulse or a tempo you’d like to use.
A good place to begin is to take walk around the room you’re in and
clap each time you take a step. This is what I refer to as a normal
walking tempo. After you find a pulse, you are going to use it as your
foundation or reference point from which you can begin your rhythm
Musicians will often use counting as a way to keep their place within
a pulse. They will count it like this: one, two, three, four, one, two,
This kind of pulse is called a four-beat cycle. There are other kinds
of cycles, but for our purposes today, we’ll just use a four-beat.
Once you establish a pulse, then the fun begins! A pulse can be
manipulated in all sorts of interesting ways.
2. Subdividing the pulse.
Within a pulse are a wide variety of ways to expand rhythmic
possibilities. Adding equidistant beats within a pulse is a good starting
a. Doubling: Find your original pulse. You’ll notice a space in
between each beat in the original pulse. Double the speed of
your pulse by putting one beat in each space.
You can count it like this: one and two and three and four and one
and two and three and four and….
b. Quadrupling: Same idea as doubling, except you put four
equidistant beats within the space of each beat in the original
You can count it like this: one ee and ah two ee and ah three ee and
ah four ee and ah.,.. 3. Create spaces in the subdivision
Once you understand how to do simple subdividing of a pulse, you
can begin to create interesting rhythmic variations by establishing a
subdivided pulse and allowing a few of the beats to go by in silence.
As you the silent beats pass, continue to allow them to pass in
silence in the same spot each time the cycle repeats.
If you are using a quadrupled subdivision (better known and 16th
notes), you could put silence on the “ee” each time it occurs in the
One, silence, and ah, two, silence, and ah, three, silence, and ah,
four, silence, and ah… etc. 4. Accenting parts of the subdivision
Instead of making some of the beats in your subdivision silent, you
can go the opposite way by accenting, or increasing the volume of
some of the beats.
If you are using a doubled subdivision (better known and 8th notes),
you could put an accent on the “and” each time it occurs in the cycle.
I will use all CAPS to denote an accent. In music you might also see
the symbol “>” over a group of notes to signal an accent.
one, AND two, AND, three, AND, four, AND… etc.
5. Using voicing
Voicing means determining what sound you’ll on specific beats. A
simple way to use voicing is to pick two different sounds (preferably
a low sound and a high sound), then assign one sound to your right
hand and the other to your left hand.
Next, play your rhythm by simply alternating your hands R,L,R,L. As
you play the rhythm you’ll notice that even though the pattern is the
same, the use of 2 distinct voices changes the way you experience
the rhythm. Voicing is quick and easy way to create infinite variation
6. Using handing patterns with voicing
Handing refers to the pattern your right and left hands are performing.
The standard handing is simply to alternate your hands “right, left,
right left”. Where this gets interesting quickly when you start using
different handing patterns on different voices. Even the simplest
handing pattern can really spice up an otherwise boring rhythm.
Pick two different sounds (preferably a low sound and a high sound),
then assign one sound to your right hand and the other to your left
hand. Then perform the following handing patterns.