Whether you are a middle school band director looking for a clever way to feature your percussionists or a general music teacher searching for a crowd-pleasing instrumental, a bit of bucket drumming can provide a fun-filled solution. Bucket drumming has come to the elementary music classroom and the band hall with instructors and students getting in on the joy of pounding a pail. Forming this type of ensemble is easy on the budget and provides a great vehicle for learning rhythms and exploring tone colors.
Clear directions are laid out for bucket drumming success in Give Me A Bucket (click here for a short tutorial.) In addition to guiding you through the process of setting up your bucket ensemble, Give Me A Bucket provides a dozen short, easy-to-learn pieces, rehearsal tips, simple choreography, and a recording for study and inspiration. Give Me A Bucket is suggested for grades 4-8 and the pieces are grouped by level of difficulty. All the pieces can be played with basic single stroke percussion skills. There are no rolls, flams, or complicated sticking patterns in the entire collection.
While most of the ensembles are written for different sizes of buckets playing polyphony, a few works are scored for unison playing. One such ensemble is “Strange Asparagus” which makes clever use of Boomwhackers™ as the striking implement. The pitched tubes provide a bit of harmony and a colorful visual component.
My short bucket drumming tutorial can be found at http://youtu.be/-eGFsWHGong
Go ahead…set up a few pails, hand your students some sticks, pass out the parts, and let the bucket jam begin!
Mark Shelton has presented hundreds of arts-in-education performances as a percussion soloist and as leader of the world music ensemble Tin Roof Tango. From the early days of his career as Visiting Artist at Coastal Carolina Community College to his current work as a soloist, clinician, sideman, and entrepreneur, Mark has created programs, products, and educational services for a variety of ages. Educational articles by Mark have appeared in Percussive Notes, Activate!, Dulcimer Players News, and Worship Musician. (If you love “Give Me A Bucket“, also check out Mark’s previous publication “Give Me A Groove“.)