Kenya: Drumming in the Middle and Side

As we venture into Kenya, the Zebras, Giraffes, Agents, Alligators, Owls, Bears, Labs, Penguins, Mustangs, and Explorers students are learning how to play the drum in two ways: playing in the middle and playing on the side/rim of the drum with their hands.  The drum makes two distinct sounds when played in the middle and on the side.

L. Zebras DrummingI. Owls Drumming








Last week, students took turns on the tubano drum and it was challenging for students to try to place their hands on the rim.  Many of them imitated me, taking my perspective on the side of the rim.  They played the rim that was across from them instead of in front of them (playing the rim from my view).  It took a lot of hand-eye coordination, some hand-over-hand assistance, and focus to play on the side of the drum.  Some students were accustomed to playing fast with two hands sharing the drum head space.  They worked on slowing down the beats and playing purposefully rather than automatically.

W. Labs Drumming

Labs Drumming








To help, I spoke “middle, middle, side, side” in a rhythm for students to practice the location of their hits.  After practicing on the tubano drum as a group, they got to try playing the middle and side by themselves on their own smaller drum.  Students were not used to playing the drum with their hands without a mallet.  I shared that if their hands were hurting, they were playing too hard or if they could not hear their neighbor, they were drumming too loud.  These guidelines helped students play at an appropriate volume and force.  No one has complained of sore hands or ears!

J. Penguins Drumming

E. Penguins Drumming








Now, we have begun playing together the pattern of “middle, middle, side, side “on our individual drums.  In some classes, students successfully play the pattern and can play it fast together.  They enjoy it and recognize that we are making a cool rhythmic sound.  Some students even dance in their seats while playing.  The music moves them!

B. Giraffes DrummingD. Explorers Drumming

About Hilary Yip

Music Therapy. Martial Arts. Rowing/Coxswain. Creative Movement.
This entry was posted in Agents 12-13, Alligators 12-13, Bears 12-13, Culture in Focus, Drums, Explorers 12-13, Giraffes 12-13, Kenya, Labs 12-13, Mustangs 12-13, Owls 12-13, Penguins 12-13, Zebras 12-13 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Kenya: Drumming in the Middle and Side

  1. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful musical experience. I cant’ wait for Cultures in Focus Day to learn more about Kenya.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s