Teaching a new unit is hard. Especially getting started. Here are the resources that I get asked about the most when it comes to teaching bucket drumming in a k-12 setting. Each item is a link to a blog post with more information and help.
The good news is that most instruments/accessories are readily available and cheap. Which is one of the biggest selling points of bucket drumming.
There's no perfect solution for this problem, but this post gives three different ideas.
The title explains it all. If you are looking for other volume reducing ideas, check out this post about partner drumming or this one explaining how to turn down the volume.
Shopping for music stuff at a surplus store like Ax-Man Surplus is a combination of a treasure hunt and working in Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory: You don't know what you are going to find and the results might be a little bit scary (but awesome). I always have a fun time at Ax-Man AND they have a teacher discount!
Here are 7 things that I've recently found at Ax-Man that I'm planning on using when teaching bucket drumming (there are about a billion other cool things at Ax-Man):
#1: Ball Bearings
They may power those blasted fidget spinners, but they also make fantastic fill for shakers. Louder, crisper, and more defined sound than rice.
#2: Duct Tape
There's a lot of duct tape at Ax-Man, and I mean a lot. Like an entire aisle full. Pick up a big roll of the black, red, or classic grey and a couple rolls of colors/patterns for accents. I wrap sticks, safe guard sharp surfaces, and generally repair stuff with duct tape. You'll need a bunch.
#3: Rubber Pads
#1 Complaint from teachers on Facebook: "Bucket Drumming is too loud." Not any longer. Grab some of these silicone rubber pads and toss them on top of the buckets to dampen the sound. And if you end up really liking the sound, just peel the paper off the back and stick them to the buckets!
#4: Foam thing
+ Duct Tape
+ Wooden Dowel
= Bass Drum Mallet
Still not convinced? Only $0.35 each!
Skinny ones for sticks, thicker ones for mallets (see #4). Bonus thing: check out the plastic dowels behind the wooden ones: They'd probably make great scratcher sticks.
Because your classroom doesn't need to look like a junkyard.
You go to plug in the ipod to the speakers...where's the cable?...it was just here...I need to play music for this next class...the students are walking in the door... Don't let this happen to you, people! $1.95
Taping sticks make them more durable, safer, and slightly quieter. They also look cooler.
A common hurdle for music teachers new to bucket drumming is where to get the buckets. While buckets are very affordable ($3ish) from large hardware stores like Home Depot (the bright orange ones are my favorite), it's possible to gather them for free with a little leg work.
Below are all the places that I've heard music teachers say they've found buckets for bucket drumming. Some are donations, others are simply used and then tossed by the original owners. Feel free to post other sources in the comments.
Click here to download a pdf version of this list.
If you already have buckets and they get stuck together a lot, try some of the preventative measures in this post.
Buckets sometimes get stuck together, especially after they've been stacked for a prolonged period of time. This happens due to heat, too many buckets stacked together (too heavy) or just plain bad luck. A couple buckets may even get irreparably stuck together for good.
Below are some prevention ideas, later I'll talk about how to unstick buckets once they are stuck.
1. Toss a stick in each bucket before you stack it.
The #1 question I get about bucket drumming is : "What stuff do I need?" The infographic below shows you: what to buy, how much it'll cost, and what to do with it once you've bought it. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about where and how to get buckets on the cheap.
Click for a printer friendly version of the list
Click for a pdf of what the raw materials look like at the hardware store.
I'm David Birrow. I teach and play percussion. This blog is a companion to The Bucket Book. Contact me at : David@TheBucketBook.com or learn more about me at: www.DavidBirrow.com
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