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A Tale of Two Drums

Posted Jun 26 2012 9:45am

If I published a newspaper that featured the accomplishments made by my clients each week, last week’s headline would have been “DRUMS PAVE THE WAY FOR SUCCESS”.

I use my drums in nearly every session, but last week, two of my drums shined very brightly. They helped me to aid several of my clients as they reached their goals in areas like motor skills, motor planning, social skills, attention skills, emotional expression, and good old fashioned rapport building.

The Gathering Drum

This drum has always been a rock star, but it was especially fabulous last week ( even though it tried to run away) . It has this deep echoing sound that many of my clients love. Who doesn’t want to bang on something that makes such a cool sound?

We get a lot of practice developing the palmar grasp with this drum. Holding the mallet correctly, and hitting the top of the drum with the head of the mallet can be a very difficult task, but my kids rocked out on this drum this week, creating those big resonating booms that occur when you play it just right!

This drum is also a lot of fun to use when taking turns and doing call and response type activities. The head of it is so big that we get to throw location into the mix instead of just repeating the rhythm! Creating shapes on the drum head with our playing adds yet another cognitive element to our playing!

The Djembes

Just like the gathering drum, my djembes see a lot of action. And unlike my gathering drum, none of them tried to escape!

With the addition of my iPad to my clinical work, I had the opportunity to use an app called DumTek with a few of my clients this week. DumTek is an application that helps you to learn Middle Eastern rhythms on the drum. This was a lot of fun this week as it helped us to work on motor planning, attention span, gross and fine motor skills, and building rapport!

Since I was still familiarizing myself with the app (and in turn, a few of the rhythms), my clients and I were on fairly equal footing in learning the rhythms. All of us made mistakes, and all of us laughed about it and focused and tried even harder! The best part was turning the application off mid drumming (it plays along with you) and allowing ourselves to let go and improvise in the moment.

Did you have any instrument super stars last week? Or, if not an instrument, a favorite tool that shines brightly to help you do your work? Share it with me in the comments!

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