Drums are fascinating to children!
And almost anything can be made into a drum: A #10 can, a food storage bucket, or a large bucket from Home Depot. You can use tupperware container, a cardboard box, or even a large book! You can borrow some amazing drums from schools, community centers, and private centers. And the children love them!
How do you use the drum experience in Primary? Here’s one idea.
“Ta, Trip-el-ti, Ta. Ta, Trip-el-ti, Ta.” I stand in front of the children beating this pattern and saying these words. (The pattern is quarter note, triplet, quarter note in a three beat pattern.)
I ask, “Which of the teachers think that they can beat this rhythm with me?” A teacher comes up (children love to volunteer their teachers<grin>), and we play the rhythm together, each of us on our own drum. I continue to say Ta, Trip-el-ti, Ta. Ta, Trip-el-ti, Ta” as we beat together a couple of times.
I stop and say to the children “Will you tap this beat on your legs like this – patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch, patsch?” (They are tapping on their laps with their hands to the steady beat.) I ask two or three older children to come up and lead the tapping/patsching.
We play together
“Let’s all play together.” I motion to the children to start patsching on the beat, and to the teacher to play the pattern as we play the beat. After a few times through, I begin to sing “Our prophet has some words for you…”
We sing and patsch and play the drums to the end of the song. I tell the children, “I have more drums. Who would like to join the teacher playing his/her rhythm on a drum?” I choose three or four children, making sure to give each one some kind of “drum.” We practice the pattern two or three times with the teacher.
“And who would like to come up here and lead our patsching on some drums?” I choose three or four other children. We practice once or twice playing the beat on the “drums” I give them.
“Everyone ready? You can either follow this group with the teacher or my group.” We start. After a few times of playing through the pattern, I start to sing “Our prophet has some words for you…” We sing and play the song all the way through.
Note: I am often asked if the children will learn the words from this activity. I smile and tell them that a song is so much more than just the words. Experiencing the beat with the drums is a kind of physical sensation that sinks deep into the children for this song. The words are coming in the back door of the brain while we play, and the atmosphere in the room is one of involvement, interest, and engagement… which the children unwittingly associate with this song. It’s a wonderful activity for this song, especially as you gently stop and bear testimony about the strength it takes to stand for the right, and how standing for the right is powerful when you join others to stand for the right.
Extender Activity: If you have time, ask each of the children with a “drum” to go choose a friend to take their place and have the experience playing the drum. Sing the song again as the new children play the drums.
The children will not be perfect at this rhythm. They won’t even be perfect at tapping the steady beat. The important thing is the experience of trying! Just the opportunity of trying grows new brain cells to gradually grow to be successful at this kind of thing! And it is fun!