AM Drums for schools
AM Drums believe every child can benefit from the chance to play and perform music.
AM Drums are the perfect first musical instrument for a pupil of any age, from pre-school up to adult education college, and especially for home-schooling ( Steiner Waldorf style ). They are extremely easy to play, versatile, flexible and creative, yet no prior experience or knowledge is necessary.
Despite changes from the Department for Education (in the UK), music remains a compulsory national curriculum subject at key stages 1 to 3 and AM Drums are flexible enough to allow you to find the right approach that best suits your pupils, whatever their ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Children get instant enjoyment and satisfaction, so they develop confidence and are encouraged to continue.
With more difficult instruments the opposite can happen – when the child isn’t able to make nice sounds in the early stages, they lose confidence and don’t want to continue.
Combining rhythm and melody, AM Drums are great for teaching pupils of all ages about music in an easy and intuitive way.
Stepping stone instrument
AM Drums let kids have fun and build their self esteem, so they can be a great stepping-stone instrument before moving on to more complex instruments of all kinds, for example string / wind instruments or the piano.
Older students can play AM Drums alongside other instruments to create beautiful performances and recordings. AM Drums are deceptively loud when played with drum sticks, and the sound ‘carries’ further than you would expect, so often no amplification is needed. But if playing with other instruments or in a large hall, the sound can be picked up by a microphone and amplified, or we can suggest a special ‘pick-up’ acoustic gadget for the same purpose. Just ask us for advice.
Adults and group settings
AM Drums are also extremely popular with older children, including teenagers, who can play them in a more sophisticated manner.
This is an example of a happy AM Drums customer in his late teens:
AM Drums have a very calming and therefore therapeutic effect on people of all ages.
Previous customers have bought them to use in group settings, and have told us they are especially effective for working with children and adults with special needs or disabilities, because of their ease of use and their therapeutic effect.
Full musical range
AM Drums are melodic steel tongue dream drums, with 8 notes (a full octave) which are precisely tuned (by hand) to existing Western music scales (for example Major, Minor, Pentatonic, Harmonic / Melodic Minor etc) as well as more exotic scales from around the world, such as Japanese Ake Bono, Hungarian Folk, Persian Hitzazkiar and so on. The sky’s the limit.
We can suggest combinations of 3 or more scales to complement each other, while still having their own unique sound or ‘flavour’.
For teaching children about simple musical scales, we suggest C Major, C Major Pentatonic and G Major Pentatonic (click on the links to listen on Youtube) because they complement each other, so kids can bash out any note combination and still sound in harmony with each other.
AM Drums are carefully tuned by hand to near perfect pitch (to 440Hz by default, though other frequencies are possible), so they are great for teaching, or to accompany singing or other instruments.
We also do special tuning upon request using other frequencies. For example, we are currently tuning a drum based on old, traditional Occitan singing.
Teaching music through colour coding
Purely as an example, we’ve designed a simple colour-coding system where the tongues are painted according to the note. With 3 drums which contain some common notes (C Major, C Pentatonic Major and G Pentatonic Major), the common notes are painted in the same colour.
With absolutely no knowledge or experience, pupils can recognise the common notes by colour and it would help 3 students to improvise and play together in a harmonious way.
Musical colour coding can be especially beneficial for pupils with dyslexia or learning difficulties who respond less to written music. It can help to build their confidence and open up doors to new methods of self-expression and creativity.
These designs are purely intended as examples. You can choose your own colour coding, or another kind of design / customisation (as well as different scales). We are open to your suggestions and enjoy finding personalised solutions.
A totally different kind of coding could be used for the tongues, such as different colours, numbers, letters (whatever suits you best).
As teachers, we’re sure you will have your own ideas about how you want to use AM Drums, and what will suit your methods (and pupils) best in the classroom.
We’re also working on AM Drums with raised, textured tongues for the blind. If you have particular requirements in relation to this, we could share ideas for a solution tailored to your needs.
AM Drums are designed for playing intuitively, so anyone of any age can play them without any previous knowledge of music theory or scales.
This is great for creativity and exploration, as well as motor skills, memory and communication.
It’s so easy to play an AM Drum that teachers can have a go too – even if you’ve never played another instrument in your life.
Seeing their teacher play an instrument sets an example and encourages children to try for themselves.
A friend of AM Drums (Evatika) tours around schools, telling stories in the oral tradition, using her AM Drum to create a background soundtrack, adding drama, grabbing their interest and spreading a little bit of magic 😉
The versatility of AM Drums makes them a great instrument for playing background music to storytelling and other activities, as it grabs children’s attention and can help to create all different kinds of mood and atmosphere.
Outside in the playground
AM Drums can also be made to be put outdoors in a garden or playground.
This drum was specially commissioned for a school playground. It is extra large (just tall enough for a younger child to play), has a built-in stand (hollow chamber which helps the sound to resonate beautifully) and feet which can be cemented into the ground so it can not be easily stolen.
The metal is painted (inside and out) with exterior hard-wearing paint and varnish to resist weathering.
The design can be customised for your particular needs. Extra large sizes are also available.