Sticks make magical musical instruments. With sticks, anything can become a musical instrument. Today we are going to explore stories and activities around drumming, including building our own drums and drumsticks!
Drums are considered on of the oldest musical instruments created by humankind. The earliest form of today’s drum dates back to 5500 BCE, to the Neolithic era, where animal skin was strung across the top of a ceramic pot or tree trunk.
For more information on the history of drums visit www.historyofdrums.net
Drumming in Indigenous Culture
The drum holds an important position in Indigenous culture. Northern College explains the spirituality of the drum:
“For First Nations Peoples, the drum represents the universal heartbeat of Mother Earth, the Universal goddess and mother to us all. The first sound that was heard in the world was the heartbeat of Mother Earth. First Nations Peoples manifest this heartbeat through playing a special rhythm on the drum. This Rhythm facilitates healing and realignment of the four realms of human existence (Mental, Spiritual, Emotional and Physical) because the Creator revolves around the rhythm. The drum, when combined with the voice, creates a hum that rests between the voice and the drum and is thought to be the spirits of the Ancestors.”
David Bouchard, a beloved Canadian Métis author from Vancouver wrote a beautiful story about the Cree Round Dance in his story, “The Drum Calls Softly”. The story is also written by
Listen to the French version, “Entre dans la Grande Ronde” here:
Watch a video on traditional Coast Salish Drum Making here:
For more information on Indigenous drumming in British Columbia, please visit, The Drum: Heartbeat of Our Indigenous Cultures.
Drumming is Special
Drumming hold a special place for many many people. In the story, Max Found Two Sticks, by Brian Pinkney, Max uses two sticks to express the world he experiences around him. In the following read aloud, Calderwood Percussion plays the drums to the reading of “Max Found Two Sticks”:
Today, let us try making our own drums and drumsticks. I explain how to make a drum from recycled materials here: Quick and Simple Drums by Mme Zibin
After I made my drums, I looked up bucket drumming online to practice learning to drum. I’m not musical, but it was a lot of fun trying and getting started. M. Zibin is a drummer and I love the bucket drumming lessons Mme Williams teaches to our Grades 5-7s. I hope to learn more in Mme Williams’ class next year!
Here’s an example of some drums made by a Grade 4 student:
If you made any drums and created a song, I’d love to see/hear! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
🙂 Mme Zibin