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Product Code: CP-ADbb15p-w

African Drumming – Primary – 15 Player Wide Top Class Pack – Budget Buddies

£297.00 exc VAT

Age 4 - 12

  • Instruments 15
  • Players 15
  • Buddies 10
  • Stock: 18
  • Super low cost starter solution for small to medium sized classes
  • Wide Top djembes are lighter and take up less storage space
  • Includes world-leading teaching support
  • Great for lunchtime and after school groups
  • Can be taught by class teachers as well as music specialists
  • Appropriate drum sizes for ages 5 to 12 years

This 15 Player Wide Top Class Budget Buddies pack is the perfect super low cost solution for lunchtime, after school groups or for smaller class groups of KS1 and KS2 pupils.

The Pack includes 5 top quality Wide Top Djembe drums and 10 percussion instruments, to give you a wide range of authentic African Drumming sounds and to make it easy to split the group into ‘Buddy Pairs’, each with one big and one smaller instrument. There are three sizes of Djembe, all with appropriately sized playing heads, and the three sizes will enable your group to differentiate the low, medium and high parts of many African Drumming pieces. The Wide Top djembes are lighter and more compact than traditional djembes and have been specially designed for use in the classroom; the drum heads are extra wide and strong, the shells are smooth inside and out and the rubber edging protects both the drums and the floor surface.

Special storage/carry bags are also available and will help to prolong the instruments’ lives as well as making it safe and easy to move them around for outside events.

Also included are two acclaimed teaching guides by world music expert Andy Gleadhill; ‘African Drumming Book 1’ and ‘Percussion Buddies’. The African Drumming book will take the group from basics through to their first performance in just 10 lessons and contains a good repertoire for a year or more of playing. The Percussion Buddies book will show you how to develop percussion accompaniments for almost any piece, whether drumming, choral, ukulele or any other ensemble.

African Drumming is an ideal group music making activity for schools from KS1 to KS4. Everyone is able to participate regardless of ability and it is quite often the ‘difficult’ or ‘hard-to-reach’ pupils who make the most startling progress. Drumming reaches the children other lessons fail to touch and the transformative power of music can be seen and felt very strongly in African Drumming classes. There are simple and advanced parts, and although relatively simple in its components, the music can be developed into exciting and rewarding performances.

The drums are fantastic! High quality and a great price! I have used them nearly every day with all year groups and some pupils are in the music room every break and lunch to play on them! The djembes have been particularly useful in teaching African music to whole classes.
St Ambrose Barlow School
Teacher

Having been searching for a suitable storage/carry bag, I found this which takes two x 65 cm djembes. A durable green material on the outside is met with sturdy walls inside, ensuring protection for my drums. Complete with two carry straps that Velcro together. I have found this the ideal solution to my problem. I can even slip in some of my Shaman drums and sandwiches too if it’s going to be a long day.

Tom Chalmers
Workshop Leader
  • This is a product image of the African Drumming - Primary - 10 Player Class Pack - Buddies. The products in the pack are laid out and include the following; Back Row  (left to right) - Two Djembe Drum - Standard - 9in diameter, 50cm high, natural, one Djembe Drum - Standard - 10.5in diameter, 60cm high, natural and two Djembe Drum - Standard - 8in diameter, 40cm high, natural. Front Row - Two Seseh - Coconut Shakers, Andy Gleadhill's African Drumming Book 1, One Agogo - natural
  • ALT text pending - Image from RC
  • ALT text pending - Image from RC
  • This is a product image of a Caxixi Basket Shaker. It is a woven wicker basket that is competely enclosed with a handle at the top. It has been painted around the circumference in pink, yellow and green.
  • ALT text pending - Image from RC
  • This is a product image of the Djembe Drum - Premium - 10.5in diameter, 60cm high, natural from the side.

Product Information

The approach

The Drums for Schools collaborative learning approach is modelled on traditional approaches to teaching and learning world music styles, adapted to the realities of the western classroom by expert Andy Gleadhill.

In traditional cultures learning is based on following the leader and by repeated “doing”. There is generally no written notation but the music tends to be easy to remember and basic instrumental techniques are simple, and so there are no major barriers to learning. Learning takes place in groups, usually of mixed ability. The playing also has an important social function – for accompanying ceremonies or events – and it’s very much a cooperative effort.

Translated to the classroom this results in a teaching and learning approach which is:

Collaborative – the class or group is engaged in an activity in which everyone – teacher and pupils – work together and help one another to achieve a common goal: the performance of a piece of music.

Inclusive – the musical styles are “foreign” and there’s no notation – so they present a level playing field where less academically able pupils are not disadvantaged. And there are easy and more difficult parts in every piece and so players of every ability can be involved and stay engaged throughout – no-one gets left out.

Accessible – the instruments are all easy to play and most pupils will be able to make a good sound after just one lesson, and the whole class will be making an impressive sound together after just a couple of lessons. It’s possible to include all sorts of “disabilities” and we’re always ready to advise on particular cases – contact us.

And the net result of accessibility, inclusivity and collaboration is something quite spectacular – extraordinarily fast progress. Nothing succeeds like success and after just a few lessons most classes will develop a genuine “esprit de corps” and you really will be seeing and hearing performance-level playing within a terms worth of lessons.

But the benefits are not just musical – the collaborative approach and the intensive listening and cooperation involved also develop pupils (and teachers!) life skills and so you’ll see a wide range of improved social and personal skills and a general improvement in “team spirit” and togetherness.

What's included

Included are:

    • Agogo – natural x 2
    • Andy Gleadhill’s African Drumming Book 1 x 1
    • Andy Gleadhill’s Percussion Buddies Book x 1
    • Basket – Large – 31cm, bamboo x 1
    • Caxixi Basket Shaker x 4
    • Djembe Drum – Wide Top – 8in diameter, 35cm high, natural x 2
    • Djembe Drum – Wide Top – 9in diameter, 40cm high, natural x 2
    • Djembe Drum – Wide Top – 10in diameter, 50cm high, natural x 1
    • Seseh – Coconut Shaker x 4

The books will tell you everything you need to know to set up the group, get started and develop to performance standard via staged lesson plans. Online access to recorded examples of all of the exercises is included in the books. No musical training or knowledge of musical notation is required – just some enthusiasm!

Please note that for reasons of stock availability we may need to make the occasional substitution of the more minor pack components. If so, we’ll always ensure suitability/equivalence and we’ll always clear any significant changes with you in advance.

How to Play

The Djembe can be played in many ways and is capable of producing a range of different tones from a deep bass to a high crack, so an ensemble of differently sized Djembes can produce a wide tonal range.

You can find information on basic playing techniques in Andy Gleadhill’s African Drumming and Percussion Buddies books (both included with this pack) and the following short videos show you how it’s done.

But please use headphones or play through hifi when watching the videos as laptop and pad speakers won’t be able to reproduce the lower frequencies and the drums will sound very tinny!

In the following two videos Andy Gleadhill demonstrates basic and more advanced playing techniques:





And in the following videos Richard McKerron demonstrates the three main djembe techniques: Open, Bass and Slap.

When playing an Open tone the drum should be struck with the whole length of the fingers on the edge of the drum nearest to your body with your elbows slightly raised. If you imagine the drumhead to be a clock face your right hand will be on the four and your left hand on the eight. Your hands must not remain in contact with the drum ounce you have played the beat but should return to your natural playing position just above the drum. A good way to achieve this technique is to imagine that the drumhead is very hot, like a radiator, and you do not want to leave your hand on it any longer than necessary.



To produce a good Bass tone the Djembe must be struck in the middle of the drumhead with the hand slightly cupped, palm down, again with the hand returning quickly from the drum. You can use your whole arm and pretend that you are bouncing a basketball this will result in the correct action for playing good Bass tones.



To produce a  good Slap tone, check out the following clip:



To augment the timbre of the ensemble, try adding other types of Shaker and hand percussion (eg Clapsticks or Wood Blocks). Metallic tones, such as Cow bells, also fit well and stand out high above the Djembe sounds.

To completely round out the sound of the percussion group, add a Dundun, Sangban and Kenkeni. This trio of double ended African drums make a superb underlying support system for Djembe groups and soloists, and together can make for truly spell-binding performances.

How it's made

Our djembes are all made by hand using top quality materials and traditional techniques.

Wooden Djembes

Our wooden drums are made from logs of sustainably grown mahogany and are certified by the international SVLK system. The smaller sizes are made from timber offcuts left over after bigger pieces have been selected for furniture, flooring or for bigger drums.

The wooden log is cut to size and then turned on a lathe to produce the rough djembe shell. The rough shell is then finished by hand to high standards of shape, thickness and smoothness. The top rim is very carefully rounded and finished so as to give a comfortable playing experience, and the inside shape is honed so that the drum can later produce a good balance of frequencies produced byt the main slap, bass and tone techniques.

The drum shell is then treated against insect infestation and left to dry in the sun for several days so that the moisture content reduces. After this a groove is carved slightly above the drum waist ready to receive the first of 3 welded steel rings, which will later provide the foundation for the drum’s stringing. The 3 steel rings are made from strong steel rods, which are cut to length and welded into circles. The lower ring has to be welded right onto the drum. You’ll find that lesser quality drums often use plaited metal wires instead of welded steel and over time these can move or stretch and can cause problems.

Next the shell is treated either with natural linseed oil or a natural-base sealer, to protect it against scratching, or, if it’s a painted style, the shell is sent off to the painting specialists.

After this a piece of high quality tanned goatskin is cut to size and fitted over the drum head under the top metal ring. The drum skin we use is thicker than that used by many other suppliers as we’ve found that this not only makes the drums much more durable, but also makes for a mellower tone. Next we use traditional stringing techniques to stretch the goatskin between the three metal rings, gradually increasing the tension until it produces a satisfying note. We always leave enough spare string attached to the Djembe so that, should you need to, it will be possible to use this to tune it up at some later date using the Mali weave technique (see Care & Maintenance section). We then add further coats of linseed oil or sealer and our signature rubber base, which not only protects the drum from cracking if it gets dropped, it also protects polished floors and tables from impact damage as well.

Finally we check the playing head diameter and other dimensions, we re-check all the drum edges and surfaces to make sure there are no splinters or sharp edges, we recheck the finishing quality and the tuning and, if necessary, retune the drum. Only then does the Djembe get final QC signed off as meeting Drums for Schools standards.

Bamboo Djembes

Our unique bamboo djembes are made using traditional basket weaving techniques using the skin from locally harvested bamboo. The weaving is done over a mould the shape of the djembe, to ensure that the finished product is a standard size.

A strong wooden ring, shaped exactly the same as the top of a wooden djembe, is then connected to the bamboo shell and the bamboo shell is reinforced on the inside with a mix of resin and sawdust. This gives rigidity to the drum and it also makes sure that it’s completely air-tight and resonant.

A thick natural goatskin is then stretched over the drum head and tightened using exactly the same traditional techniques as are used for our wooden djembes and a rubber base is also added, same as for the wooden ones.

Finally we check the playing head diameter and other dimensions, we re-check all the drum edges and surfaces to make sure there are no splinters or sharp edges, we recheck the finishing quality and the tuning and, if necessary, retune the drum. Only then does the Djembe get final QC signed off as meeting Drums for Schools standards.

The hand percussion instruments in our african Drumming Buddies packs are made from natural materials by artisans working together in small groups.

Agogo Natural

This is a natural version of the classic metal agogo bells and it uses two differently sized coconut seed husks as the resonators. The husks have an opening cut in one end, to allow them to be glued to the wooden handle. We use a mix of very strong epoxy glue and sawdust for a strong and air-tight joint and then sand the outside down so that it’s safe and comfortable to play. The natural materials produce a much mellower sound than the metal version and it makes it possible to play for much longer without getting stressed!

Seseh and Beaded Shakers

The resonator is a coconut shell that has had a small hole cut in one end to receive the end of the wooden handle, which is glued into place with strong epoxy glue. The beads on these shakers are mounted externally on a string or metal netting and the sound is produced by the beads knocking or scraping against the coconut shell. The seseh shaker beads are made from seeds from the seseh palm; those on the beaded shaker are bevelled glass.

Caxixi Basket Shaker

The body of the caxixi shaker is woven from natural rattan and is filled with glass beads. A piece of hard coconut shell is woven into the base of the shaker and this enables the instrument to produce two different tones: a soft shushing sound when the beads are shaken against the rattan walls and a louder and brighter sound, when the basket is turned and the beads shake against the coconut base.

Care & maintenance

Djembes and other drums are extremely tough and will give satisfaction for 5 to 10 years and longer, if you treat them with care and follow the guidelines below.

Wooden Drums

Wooden drum shells should be kept at a reasonably constant temperature and humidity (normal room temperature is best) and not placed near to a heat source or stored in damp conditions.

Be sure not to let the skin get damp as, if it does, it will lose its tension, and when the tension goes, the sound becomes loose and flat. If you do have an accident you can always try using a hair dryer (set to ‘low’) to warm up and tighten the skin, or put it in the sun for twenty minutes and it will soon dry out and the tension and sound will recover.

You may find that there’s a small bag of wedges supplied with your Djembe. These are for quickly tuning it up on cold damp days or if you want a higher pitch for solo work or performance. Just push the wedges in between the vertical drum strings and the wooden drum shell, spreading the wedges out evenly around the drum. This will increase the tension of the strings and increase the pitch of the drum. You can buy extra wedges very cheaply – click here.

You may also wish to learn how to tune a Djembe using the traditional Mali weave technique, which uses the spare rope wrapped around the Djembe and is a long term solution. This is the professional way to do it and will give you much more control. Take a look at the following video and try it for yourself. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll find it’s very quick and easy.



Hand percussion instruments tend to need very little maintenance, and if you treat them with reasonable care they’ll last for years.

Beaded Shaker and Seseh Shaker

Both these shakers are made from coconut shells, which are strong but brittle and they may crack if dropped on or knocked against a hard surface. So just be careful and it’s a good idea to wrap them in bubblewrap or a soft wrapping when storing them with other instruments.

If the handles get dirty or sticky, just wipe down with a damp cloth. Using a little detergent, disinfectant or surface cleaner won’t do any harm! If the netting carrying the seseh seeds works loose, you can use a short length of string to pull it tighter around the coconut shell.

Agogo Natural and Agogo Bells

Nothing much to go wrong here – as with the shakers, just wipe down with a damp cloth from time to time. Using a little detergent, disinfectant or surface cleaner won’t do any harm. It’s worth checking the metal bells occasionally, to make sure no sharp edges develop inside or out.

Caxixi Basket Shaker

If the rattan basket dries out it may become brittle and break, so it’s a good idea to wipe it down with a lightly oiled cloth once in a while. Light vegetable oil is fine, or pretty well any kind of polish. The other thing to check from time to time is that gaps don’t appear in the weave – and if they do, just ease them closed by squeezing the horizontal rows of rattan together with your fingertips.

Documentation

Guarantee

We use the best quality materials and traditional manufacturing methods to make our African Drumming instruments and accessories and they’re designed for serious, long term use in the classroom. Looked after properly the instruments will give many years of satisfaction, even if used several times a day and the materials and workmanship are guaranteed as follows:

Djembe and other drum shells – 10 years. But keep at a stable temperature and humidity and don’t let the shells get damp or wet. Don’t leave in direct sunlight or near a heat source as this can cause the wood to dry out and crack. Although they’re naturally tough, handle with respect and don’t drop them or throw them about as rough treatment can also cause cracks to appear.

Drum skins -2 years. But keep hard or sharp points (including rings and other jewellery) away from drum skins at all times. Keep skins dry and don’t leave in direct sunlight or near a heat source as this can cause the skin to dry out and split. If you need to tighten the drum skins, be sure not to over do it as over-tightening can also cause skins to split.

Hand percussion instruments – 2 years. But treat with care and don’t drop them or handle roughly as natural materials are not as strong as plastics and may crack or break, particularly if dropped on a hard surface.

Storage/carry bags and accessories – 2 years. But keep bags away from sharp points and don’t over-fill them or force the zips.

If you should get any problems with any of our African Drumming instruments or accessories, please take photos of the issues and email them to us with the order/invoice number and a brief description of how the problem arose and we’ll get back to you right away.

Delivery

We work with a small number of specialist logistic companies to deliver your order quickly and economically. The delivery method varies, depending on your location and the size of the order, as follows:

UK Locations

Orders weighing less than 1kg and not too bulky – Post Office First Class. This would include books and smaller percussion instruments.

Orders weighing more than 1kg or lighter but bulky orders – Courier, next working day delivery. Most orders are sent this way and should arrive next working day after dispatch.

Very bulky orders – Pallet service, 3 working day delivery. For very big orders and those with more fragile contents. Timing is from dispatch date.

Please note that delivery to offshore or Highland addresses may take longer and may cost more than to UK mainland addresses and we’ll quote and agree the costs with you in advance.

International Locations

Orders weighing less than 1kg and not too bulky – Post Office Airmail. This would include books and smaller percussion instruments.

Orders weighing more than about 1kg and very bulky orders – international courier or pallet service. We’ll obtain competitive quotes and agree these with you in advance.

Please note that it’s fine to go ahead and place your international order and that there’s no commitment on your part until the delivery costs have been quoted and accepted by you.

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