Claire Folts • Children’s Music Director

This spring the kids have been playing DRUMS! Just before Christmas, the Children’s Music Program received a gift in memory of Elaine Barner from Lauren and Pieter Daems of a Remo World Music Drumming package. It included 15 tubanos (large standing drums like djembes but easier for kids to play), talking drums, buffalo drums, guiros, cow bells, maracas, sand blocks, claves, and more. All of my kids from preschool up through 5th grade have been having an absolute ball using all of the instruments. So have I!

The preschool children use sand blocks to make the sound of a chugging train as we sing “Get on Board Little Children” and chant “Engine, Engine Number Nine.” The K-2nd grade children used tubanos for the sound of apples hitting the ground and claves and triangles to “say the words without our voices.” Finally, both in Sunday School and on Tuesday nights the 3rd-5th grade children have used a variety of instruments to help tell stories. In fact, you will hear them tell Psalm 66 using words and percussion instruments this Sunday, June 2. I love the chance to incorporate percussion into the children’s music program. Percussion highlights the importance of listening, it’s a way to make music when singing is scary, and quite simply drums are fun!

When playing percussion, listening is key. Drum circles are composed largely of call and response meaning one person leads and the rest answer. You must listen to the lead to be sure you answer logically. If you aren’t listening to each other, you probably aren’t playing together, and it likely sounds like one very loud mess! You have to listen to make sure you line up and sound, as I tell my K-2nd graders, like “one giant drum.”

Singing can be scary for children and adults. Particularly in our K-2nd grade group, we have children who are very nervous to sing. They are NOT nervous to play drums! I love having an option for those kids to make music. As they grow more comfortable in our group, perhaps they will join us in singing and perhaps they won’t. Either way, they are welcome and I’m glad they are part of our musical community.

Even for the kids who love to sing, drums are an incredibly fun addition to our Tuesday evening activities. If you have ever poked your head into room 5 on a Tuesday night between 5:45 and 7:00 pm, you heard a lot of noise and saw a lot of smiles! Many of those smiles were from playing percussion. No matter what your age, you cannot help but smile when playing the drums.

In our children’s music program, the kids are learning to listen, they have found spaces where they feel confident and safe, and they are having fun. I love that they love being here. I look forward to continuing to make music with the kids in the fall!