A delightful collection of world music instruments supported by teaching resources
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, if you struggle with teaching music in primary school, your discomfort will fall into one of two categories. One is that you worry you are not particularly musical. The other is that you actually love music, which is why you finish each lesson with a sigh of relief and either a massive headache or a funny twitch. Fortunately, there is something that could restore your confidence or rekindle your passion for the subject.
Drums for Schools is an award-winning, specialist provider of instruments and related teacher support. Their attractive, authentic instruments from around the globe can bring many layers of joy to any classroom.
Take their World Percussion Set, for example. Even the process of unpacking it creates a flutter of excitement, not least because the instruments are so beautiful. Made from natural materials in a traditional style, they look and feel special and are an education in themselves, just from inspecting how they are made. The Bento shakers, for example, incorporate fruit husks from the breadfruit plant. You can see how the maracas are made from gourds or coconuts. There are also lovely design details on the handles of lots of them.
As well as producing a rich variety of percussion sounds, the instruments include a few that can generate a tune. The metallophone produces gorgeously clear, resonant notes. I also loved the M’bira thumb piano, both for the warmth of its tone and the appeal of its design.
You’ll be glad to learn that set comes with handy booklets that help the teacher make the most of the instruments. These provide interesting insights into their’ construction and places of origin, along with explanations as to how each one should be played, backed by QR code-linked videos. More importantly, they suggest a range of activities for using the instruments as a class. These come with full instructions and an easy-to-follow grid notation that makes it absolutely clear who hits what, how and when. Ultimately, they show you how to get the whole group playing a selection of tunes in unison.
As well as hitting curriculum objectives, these activities will help pupils enjoy the real sense of achievement that comes from making music as a group. In fact, I can see it delivering genuine benefits in terms of class cohesion, self-esteem and team-building skills. Beat that!
- Gorgeous to look at
- Easy to use
- Fun to play
- Inspires teacher confidence
- Remarkably good value
You want to bring the wow factor to your music lessons and get your class working in harmony. A great value and completely original approach to exploring a range of world music – and culture – in your classroom.
This review first appeared in Teach Primary magazine February 2022.