This is a fun way to establish rhythms with students from kindergarten on up, but I've found it works best from third grade through eighth grade, giving kids a way to not only learn aurally but visually and kinetically all at once! All you need are some sticks and some buckets, and it can be as easily as chopping up some dowel rods from your local hardware store, chopsticks from your local eatery, or even buying cheap drumsticks. As for buckets, I would highly recommend being friendly with your janitor since they get some pretty awesome cleaning product buckets that can be used to make some sweet bucket drum sounds, but other alternatives include donations from your neighborhood hardware store - it never hurts to ask!
It has been my experience that bucket drumming also works very well for introducing students to solo and small ensemble playing, as kids are eager to show off their bucket drumming skills! Please note that the first three levels of music have a “ta” language option, so that you can choose whether to give your students the rhythms or you develop them as your students learn how to bucket drum in your classroom. I have to say this is one of my favorite units to teach, and I love watching my students become bucket drumming karate masters!
This unit includes both the Junior and Pro levels, left hand and right hand lead, so you can teach whichever way you are most comfortable (band is left hand, but a lot of younger students do better with right hand lead) with six belts for each level for students to work through, as well as tips for technique, how to find materials and how to read through the music as an ensemble. I also have a free how-to with tips and tricks, and I welcome questions, so feel free to reach out and email me if something should come up!
Updated October 2020, with backing tracks!