How to Get Your Students Hooked on Bucket Drumming

Getting your students hooked on (3)
The kids and I are now HOOKED on bucket drumming. I went to a PD session on it last year and I noticed the similarities between teaching bucket drumming and actual drumming. As a drummer, I was instantly taken in. Over the summer I was able to acquire around 12 five gallon buckets from a local seniors’ facility. They were perfect. Since then, I was able to get more to add to the collection. A student even brought in some from her farm that her family wasn’t using anymore. Now, we have close to 30 buckets for bucket drumming and I will keep trying to get more for next time!

Luckily I had a ton of old drum sticks from my parent’s basement that I was able to use. Rhythm sticks will work perfectly fine.

What I absolutely love about bucket drumming is it gets everyone playing the drums in an incredibly simple way. What is even better, is that it helps to make sure everyone in the group understands a 4 measure phrase. Not only are they playing it, they are counting it so that they know exactly how many measures they are playing and how it all fits together.
I was referred to a video about bucket drumming called YUCK. A bucket drumming instructor pops up on the screen and goes through all the parts. Here is the video:

To make their learning most effective, I made sure the students learned how to count measures and what a ‘fill’ was. I would always get them to say the ‘booms’ and the ‘gat’s as it directly relates to the instrument. Saying it helps them to understand the rhythm and internalize it.  We also did a lot of ‘air drumming’ which helped me to see what they were doing and helped the students to follow my movements better. Many students, too, seemed to finally understand the difference between right and left! Which is always a bonus… Although many still never got it. I digress.

There were a few classes that really were able to grasp these concepts. One of them was this group of grade 2 and 3 students, so we recorded a performance they did in my music classroom. We took three of the parts from the YUCK video and layered them on top of one another so they could see and hear how they all lined up. The reaction at the end of the video by a couple of students really encapsulates the experience and how much fun they had!

Happy Musicking!

5 thoughts on “How to Get Your Students Hooked on Bucket Drumming

  1. Fantastic Steve! Did you have the kids in 3 parts playing one part each or did they move through each part.


    1. We learned each part separately as a group and then eventually worked to have them play together. All of them were able to play each part, so every time we performed it, we all switched parts. Counting was paramount! Eventually they didn’t have to count at all, they just felt it.


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