Are the paints/colours safe?
Yes. they’re all water-based acrylics. No lead or other nasty ingredients. Varnishes are also water-based.
Are the instruments safe for babies and small children?
Babies and small children (and many grown-ups) are so creative that they’re capable of treating inanimate objects as anything from weapons to light snacks. Although our instruments are carefully made and the colours and materials aren’t harmful, they do need to be handled responsibly as some may release small parts, which could pose a choking hazard to children under the age of 3. So to be absolutely safe, please don’t use the instruments with babies or small children.
How long will the drum skins last?
The drum skins are really high quality and should give many years of satisfaction providing they’re treated with respect. Only use the hands or properly designed drumsticks to hit them – never hit them with sharp or pointed objects and always take off any hand jewellery before playing (even smooth metal rings can cause damage). If you use drumsticks frequently you’re likely to shorten the life of the skin as sticks concentrate the force of each impact in a much smaller area. It’s always best to use the hands – it spreads the impact and helps to oil the skin using the natural oils on your skin. It’s also a good idea to put a protective hat or drums bag on the drum when it isn’t being used. Most damage to skins happens by accident (someone mistakes the drum for a side table) and so a protective cover is a really good investment.
What happens if a drum skin splits?
If the worst comes to the worst see “Can I reskin my own drum” below. The process takes several days and the cost depends on the size and type of the drum and on the type and condition of the stringing. But be warned – reskinning drums is an expensive business. It’s much better to take good care of the skin in the first place!
Can I reskin my own drum?
Yes, it’s perfectly possible, though a little strenuous, and you may find that you end up doing it twice as the first time tends to be a bit of a bodge. There’s a really good step-by-step guide of how to go about it at http://hawkdancing.com/Wooddrum/drumhead.html. You’ll need a good new skin and some string, both of which you can buy from us at reasonable prices.
How do I tune my djembe?
This is very easy using the tuning wedges that come with each of our Standard djembes and which can also be bought separately. Just insert the sharp end of each wedge between the ropes and the wooden shell about 5 or 6 inches below the level of the playing head and push the wedge firmly in, stretching the rope as you do so. If you insert one wedge every 3 or 4 rope verticals, this should tighten the head uniformly. But if you’d like to tighten the skins like a professional using the Mali Weave method, it only takes a few minutes, once you’ve got the hang of it. Master drummers tend to tune their drums before they play and then slacken them off again afterwards. That way they get those amazing high slaps, but they only keep the drum skins at high stress when they’re actually playing. For detailed instructions and lots of photos, see the brilliant step-by-step guide at http://www.hawkdancing.com/Wooddrum/tuningadjembe.html.
Can you arrange a drumming, gamelan or other workshop at our school?
Yes but these events often work best if there are several schools involved, so it’s worth asking other schools in your area if they’d also be interested in taking part.
What happened to the 30% discount?
In August 2019 we took the decision to discontinue the education discount and instead to reduce all our prices by 30%, making all our instruments available to everyone at the lowest possible price. We did this as 95% of our customers are from the education sector and so it seemed sensible to simplify things.
Can you make a new instrument for us?
We’re always happy to look at making new instruments. The process is often quite a long one but it’s always interesting. Email us with what you have in mind and we’ll get back to you.
Do you use sustainable sources of timber?
Yes, and we’re always looking to change to faster-growing species and to increase our use of recycled and wood waste products. Wherever possible we’ll always use bamboo, local softwoods or fruits instead of hardwood – it’s good for the planet and it keeps costs down too.
Can we have our organisation name or logo printed or carved on our instruments?
Yes. Let us know what you need and we’ll send you a quote.
What are the best sizes of drum for early years?
For two-handed playing (two hands are always best!), it’s good to have a playing head diameter of at least 6″ and so most 30cm high (or taller) djembes are fine and you can probably get away with 25cm. Smaller drums can be played with one hand or beaters. But small children love the bigger drums too (and the bigger the better!) so it’s good to include a 40cm, 50cm or 60cm drum if you’ve the budget for it.
What are the best sizes of drum for primary schools?
For KS1 you’ll need at least a 7″ diameter playing head and 8″ is better. For KS2 go for 8″ or 9″ as a minimum. So try our Standard 30cm and 40cm for KS1 and Standard 40cm and 50cm for KS2. But do include some bigger ones too, if you have the budget, as these will add tonal depth and be good for setting the bass pulse.
What are the best sizes of drum for secondary schools?
9″ playing head diameter is a good minimum so our Standard 50cm and 60cm djembes are a good bet, plus some 10.5″ 60cm and 12″ 65cms for filling out the bass.