We have new additions to the instrument collection at The Parish School: two gathering drums! I have experienced them in other music settings and decided that we needed some. These are strong resilient drums that provide opportunities for various play.
For our first times on the drums, the surface of the drum facilitates learning about personal space, sharing, taking turns, and cooperating together to play. In addition, it has been great for students who are sensory defensive and for those who seek sensory. Those who may not actively drum will place their hands on the surface and feel the vibrations or listen with their ears on the drum surface. Those who play may decide they need to scratch, rub, play hard, or to use more than one part of their body to play to satisfy their sensory needs.
Drumming is fun and the students learn imitation through the process. They are watching me lead in different drum play and patterns and then making their bodies/hands do the same thing. We were silly and played the drum with different body parts, per students’ suggestions: elbows, nose, head, hair, ears, chin, forearm, and knee. The drum leads the students to imitate and follow directions while recognize their own spatial area and body. In addition, many of the students were shifting their attention between the drumming to their peers around them and encouraging each other to share space, play differently, or to comment on what they were doing. We drummed up lots of fun!