“Include, Empower, Transform” sums up our whole approach to music-making.

Our musical instruments are naturally inclusive and tactile, and will support the development of any child or adult. They are robust, low-cost, and suitable for use in the home, as well as in SEND settings.

Inclusive

The musical styles are intuitive and fun, the SEND support materials are clear and effective, and the instruments are pick-up-and-play, so everyone is engaged right from the very first session, regardless of age, ability or background.

Empowering

Making music, especially in a group, develops everyone’s social, emotional and life skills, as well as motor skills. Players will leave the sessions feeling bouyed up and empowered.

Transformative

Over just a few sessions, whether group or one-to-one, you’ll start to see and feel the magical results of social music making. The development of social, emotional and physical skills naturally brings about personal and social transformation.

Value for money

Our instruments are high-quality and robust, and are suitable for families as well as practitioners and schools. They’re made from tactile, natural materials and are a pleasure to hold and play.

One set does it all

As well as our SEND music sets, we have a range of inclusive Whole Class Music Sets. These will let you deliver the National Curriculum for music, start an ensemble, provide an extra-curricular activity, and improve pupils’ life skills, resilience and well-being. Just one of our class sets lets you do it all. And progression is built-in.

Multi-purpose

One class set can be used by all your year groups as well as for extra-curricular clubs and outreach activities in the community.

Cover the curriculum

As well as covering the KS2-KS3 music syllabus, the approach complements Online Providers such as Charanga and with singing initiatives like SingUp.

Life Skills

By developing everyone’s social, emotional and life skills, the approach empowers and transforms individuals, teachers and community.

Progression

Each class set includes enough resources for 5 or 6 terms of learning and by adding new styles you’ll have enough for 5 years or more.

It’s easy to put into practice

The benefits are wide-ranging, but implementation is simple. It will slot easily into your existing timetable, and our library of teaching resources will support your teachers every step of the way. Dovetails neatly with singing and online resource providers, and your local Music Hub or Music Service will be able to lend you additional support.

Plan

Careful planning will ensure success. Make this a truly collaborative exercise and involve pupils and teachers  right from the start.

Prep Lesson

All the teaching resources you’ll need are provided and lesson prep shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes for most lessons.

Perform

After just 10 lessons your class will be ready to perform their first piece. Assembly is great for this, but the class may want to make a bigger splash and perform for parents.

Progress

The pieces in the teaching guide are progressively more challenging and there’s enough material for 5 terms. New musical styles will give you up to 7 years progression.

The approach works because . . .

People of all abilities playing music together

The styles are intuitive and fun

So everyone is engaged right from the start, and looks forward to the sessions – teachers too! The styles are new to everyone so no one has a head start or is left behind, and the collaborative approach means that everyone learns together.

School children playing djembes

The instruments are easy to play

So it all sounds great from day one, boosting everyone’s self-confidence, and ensuring rapid progress. The instruments are accessible, specially adapted for the classroom, easy to look after, quick to set up and built to last.

Schoold children playing Indonesian Gamelan

It’s easy to teach

The approach is highly intuitive and teachers are supported every step of the way by resources designed for non-musicians, so no prior music experience is needed. Resources include SEND guidance, Class Teaching guides, Schemes of Work, Lesson Plans, Video and Audio clips and more . . .

Children playing steel drums

It’s affordable

SEND sets start at just £19 and whole class 30 player World Percussion class sets start from £317, African Drumming from £695 The same set can be used with every class and year group, as well as with extra-curricular groups, so it really can cost as little £1 per pupil to get started.

Children playing Samba drums

It boosts wellbeing and life skills

This is the BIG added bonus – playing together collaboratively in a group results in a rapid increase in togetherness and wellbeing. At the same time everyone acquires a wide range of social, emotional and physical skills, and it all happens naturally and enjoyably.

Our class sets tick all the boxes

For non-specialists as well as music teachers

Our teaching resources are designed to be used and understood by non-specialist and cover teachers. The collaborative approach is intuitive and gets pupils and teacher learning together by playing together.

Deliver a progressive, high quality music education

Meets curriculum requirements, brings diversity into the curriculum and impresses OFSTED. And parents will love the show-stopping performances, starting at the end of the first term and continuing year after year.

Upskill and revitalise teachers

Class teachers who previously dreaded music lessons will develop into inspired music leaders, giving you self-sufficiency in music delivery. Specialist teachers will broaden their knowledge of different musical styles.

Include and empower EVERY pupil

This is an intrinsically inclusive and accessible approach. It engages children of every ability and background, and it’s brilliant at developing social, emotional and life skills.

Boost well being and attendance

Having fun playing together, helping one another, and making a great sound from day one is the recipe for success. The lessons leave everyone feeling good, that they’re part of a real team, and keen to come back for more . . .

Highly affordable

SEND sets start at just £19 and 30 player whole class sets start at just £317, and the same set can be used with every class and year group as well as for extra-curricular clubs. There really isn’t a better use of limited funds than this.

Making a difference in thousands of Schools

Drums for Schools class sets and instruments are in use in Primary schools in the UK and all over the world, helping tens of thousands of class teachers and music teachers to include, empower and transform hundreds of thousands of pupils.

  • I’d not only purchased drums from you at my last school, I’d also bought drums for the feeder primary schools to use and share (which worked out realy well), so I had no hesitation to use you again when I moved to my new school. Everything went swimmingly and we have just been using the drums as part of our summer school activities – thank you very much. No doubt I’ll be ordering something again soon!
    Charlotte Ecclesfield School
  • The drums are great – the pupils love using them in their music lessons and we have started a djembe club on a Wednesday lunchtime as well.The quality of the drums is better than I had expected and they are excellent value for money. Thank you very much for your service I will not hesitate to recommend you to other music staff I know who may be interested in purchasing African drums.
    Ruth Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School
  • I had people of all shapes and sizes, young and old and more touchingly 2 severely disabled participants all taking part in my impromptu drum circles. One lady, unable to speak and confined to a wheel chair led a call and to see her laughter and hear her squeal with delight when we followed with the response beat everything I have ever done in my years of drumming.
    Ian Beating Heart Promotions
  • The drums we’ve purchased from you are wonderful. They were a great price, they look great but most importantly they sound great. They’ve had a lot of use this past half term with visiting African drummers who used the drums with every class in the school (300 children+) as well as a visiting music teacher who did a drumming project with the Y6 children – the children and their parents have loved them!
    Kelly Bielefeld School
  • The drums are fantastic, the children are very much enjoying using them. It is amazing what even very young children can achieve in a very short space of time with African drums. Our Year 2 children are loving it.
    Emma South Petherton Infants
  • Thank you very much for all your help and support. The instruments have arrived and the children are fascinated, Year 6 can’t wait for their lesson on Monday! The Gamelan is a great addition to our department and adds greatly to our steps to becoming more culturally aware and diverse.
    Emma Belmont Grosvenor School
  • We love the instruments and they are already getting a lot of use, the children responding ever so well to the different styles of music. The teaching guides to accompany both are also very helpful.
    We have been delighted with the service from everyone we have dealt with at Drums for Schools.
    Emma Marshall Havelock Academy
  • I’m making good use of the drums with my Year 5 and 6 children at the moment but the plan is for everyone to use them. Everyone can do it so it’s inclusive and engaging. Even my head teacher joined our drumming circle yesterday and loved it!
    Teacher St Thomas of Canterbury School
  • The children love the African rhythms and are never absent on drumming day.
    Paul St Pauls Primary
  • We received the drums and they are fantastic, I have already put them to great use with years 3,4,5 and 6 classes.
    Gary Stanley Grove Primary Academy
  • The kids absolutely love drumming and has built confidence and put smiles on faces which is fantastic!
    Joanne Wikidz Workshops
  • Our drums are amazing and the children love them. We are just about to start a drum club and plan to perform to parents at the end of the summer term. Thank you for your support.
    Jude The Learning Academy Trust
  • I am absolutely delighted with the drums and so are my Form V pupils who have been the first to try them! I am particularly impressed by the storage cases and the book that you sent as it has enabled me to begin teaching techniques even though I have only attended one drumming workshop before.
    Lesley Seaton House School
  • The instruments were for two ethnic minority groups for a course that we delivered to enhance their health and wellbeing by meeting together to sing. It was a huge success and they are sustaining the courses by using the instruments and singing what they learnt in the course.They have enjoyed it so much that they are sourcing extra funding to employ a tutor. Thanks!
    Linda Southampton City Council
  • “Thoughts from our Year 5 children on playing the Gamelan:-
    • It’s good because you get to experience what people play in other countries
    • I feel special when I do it
    • It calms we down in a way, makes me feel happy and special and I like doing it
    • It makes you forget everything and concentrate on the sound”
    Mary King Edward’s Junior School
  • We are very pleased with our Samba kit and it has been used a lot since our purchase in KS3 class music lessons as well as a Samba band parade at our School Sports day.
    Samantha The Petersfield School

The Drums for Schools approach is completely different

Inclusive

Based on accessible world music styles and a learning approach that has evolved naturally over hundreds of thousands of years.

Engaging

The instruments are pick-up-and-play and the styles are intuitive and fun, so ALL pupils (and teachers) are engaged right away.

Collaborative

Unlike classic, one-to-many teaching, teachers and pupils learn together and benefit together. It upskills and invigorates teachers while they teach!

Fast-Acting

It takes just a term to get everyone to performance level (vs several years for classical instruments). And it sounds good from day one.

Progressive

Each class set includes enough resources for 5 or 6 terms of learning and by adding new styles you’ll have enough for 7 or more years of teaching!

Transformative

By developing everyone’s social, emotional and life skills, the approach empowers and transforms individuals, teachers and community.

Cost-Effective

There really isn’t a better educational investment. One class set can be used for all year groups, so it costs just a few £ per pupil. It’s a tiny price for a massive educational return.

Ticks the boxes

As well as covering the music syllabus the approach delivers the engagement and results that OFSTED and parents are looking for.

Andy Gwatkin & Faye

And it’s all backed by Drums for Schools, a completely different kind of supplier

We’re a small, family firm and our speciality and focus is inclusive group and whole class music making. Our mission is to make the power of music available to everyone.

Ready to take things further?

Browse solutions

Have a look at these ready-to-go music sets for groups and classes of from 5 to 30 players. They all include full teaching support and prices start from just £179.

Read more

Download this pack of insights, articles and reviews to find out more about how you can use the power of music to include, empower and transform pupils, teachers and the whole school.

Talk it through

Book a chat with our founder, Andy Gwatkin. He’ll be happy to answer your questions about the practicalities of implementing this approach..

We don’t have the budget

The cost per pupil is tiny compared to other music resources: whole class (30 Player) sets start from £277 and can be used with every class. And we’ve found that PTAs are often very keen to support music initiatives like this, and there are also grants available from EMI.

We have no space in the timetable

Be creative – these are not just music lessons – they develop wellbeing, social and emotional skills too, so you’re not limited to using existing weekly music slots. And they also work really well as lunch time or after school sessions.

We don’t have a music teacher and our class teachers dread music lessons

Don’t worry! You don’t need a music teacher and your class teachers don’t need any music experience. The instruments are easy to play, the styles are intuitive, and the collaborative approach, with teacher and class learning together, is great fun and means that class teachers, or any teaching professional, can be just as effective as music specialists. Music lessons may quickly become your class teachers’ favourite lessons!

We already have a music teacher/existing provision

Perfect – use the approach to supercharge current provision, extending it to all year groups, and have your music teacher lead the way, mentoring class teachers and championing your arrival as a “Musical School”

We’re already getting free Music hub support and don’t want to complicate things

Great, and you won’t. You’ll find that hub specialists are brilliant for providing CPD and to assist in sessions. And they’ll love that they don’t have to lug van loads of instruments around, and that they can get stuck into some real music-making and see rapid results.

Take an overview

Consider starting with a single year group (one that’s not already benefiting from weekly Music Hub lessons), and extend to other year groups from the second term onwards. Or kick off with a single class, extend to the rest of the year group from the second term, and add the other year groups from term three or at the start of the second year.

Get everyone on-board and choose the style

On-board the class teachers, music coordinator and music teacher (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) by first sending them the link to our Primary or Secondary solutions, and the link to our free teaching resources.

Decide which music style to start with – African Drumming will work very well for most schools, but it would be well worth asking the pupils and teachers which style they’d like best. The styles are all accessible and intuitive and all will work with any class, so the deciding factors could be pupil/teacher interest and budget (Taiko, Steel Pans and Gamelan are more expensive; Samba and African Drumming are mid range; World Percussion is lowest cost).

Plan the where and when

Decide where classes will happen. World Percussion can work well in any classroom and doesn’t need much at all in the way of storage space; the other styles need storage spaces of between 0.5 and 2 cubic meters. Ideally you’ll have one room that can be used for all classes – one where the instruments can be stored (or left in position), and which isn’t too close to other classrooms. Gyms, halls and covered outside areas can all work well, or pretty well any classroom-sized room.

Allocate slots in the Timetable: weekly music lessons are the obvious choice, but PSHE slots can also work well. It’s also well worth programming lunchtime or after school sessions at the outset, e.g. as “clubs” for anyone to attend . They’re great ways to get more pupils involved and to spread the benefits around quickly.

Please note: our experts are available to talk through the options with you and help you with your planning, so either schedule a consult, or contact us.

First lesson preparation

Prep for the first lesson will take longer than subsequent lessons. Allow around 60-90 minutes. Teacher(s) will need to:

1. Listen to the audio track of the first piece – this will be the foundation for the first performance in just 10 lessons time. Listen through several times until you feel you know it.

2. Familiarise yourself with the instruments, reading the Introduction and Basic Playing Techniques sections of the teaching guide and playing along with the “How to Play” videos.

3. Read the section in the guide about “The Music” – this is very useful background.

4. Play through the first few Warm Up exercises several times – these will be key to the success of the first few lessons.

5. Check out the Scheme of Work overview and the first lesson plan. The lesson plan will be a big help as a “cheat sheet” during the first lesson.

If more than one teacher is going to be involved, then the preparation steps are best done in a group. Musicians from your local Music Hub may well be able to help by both mentoring the group and being present in the first sessions to model and assist as needed. But remember, this is your music-making and it’s all about taking ownership and working towards becoming self-sufficient in music delivery.

Subsequent lessons (30 minutes prep)

The pattern for lesson 2 and subsequent lessons will be similar and preparation shouldn’t take more than about 30 minutes.

In the lesson, start with revision of the previous lesson’s exercises, focusing on improving the quality of the sound, then introduce small chunks of new material, and finish by playing through all the material covered to date.

Between lessons read ahead in the teaching guide and lesson plans, and keep listening and playing along to the audio track – you can’t be too familiar with this. Also begin to familiarise yourself with the other tracks. Play through (repeatedly!) any new exercises as they come up. For more detailed cultural and musical background, download and read the Extended Introduction or do your own research on the net.

Getting Performance-ready

The Scheme of Work and lesson plans included in your class set will take you step by step all the way to the performance, and, as the date for the performance approaches, you’ll find the Creating a Performance section in the teaching guide especially helpful.

Aim to make your performance as much of an event and exciting as possible. Music is meant to be shared, so invite classmates, parents, friends and anyone you can think of to share your African Drumming experience. Dress up in traditional African style clothes, prepare some African food to share, and enjoy celebrating the group’s achievements.

Share with the community

But don’t stop there – once the class has cut its teeth with an in-school performance, encourage them to perform outside: local care homes, health centres, shopping centres and other venues will be delighted to host you, and everyone will benefit – children, school and community. Taking the music-making outside the school can pay dividends in so many ways

Term 2 and beyond

During the second term you should find that the class will be able to master a new piece (or two), as well as revising and improving the first piece. You should aim to add two new pieces (or more) each term from the third term onward. And as each new piece is mastered, it’s naturally the opportunity for a new performance.

Adding a new musical style

If you decide to introduce a new musical style (for example Brazilian Samba or Indonesian Gamelan), the class can of course still continue with their African Drumming and African Drumming performances – just timetable in an African Drumming lesson once or twice a term, or add some after school sessions. And if you’re at the same time extending the teaching to another year group, you’re going to find another set of instruments very useful.

A second musical style will give you another two years worth of lessons and, if you add a new style and involve a new year group every year, you’ll find you’ll quickly have enough styles, pieces and instruments for every pupil in the school to be able to master a new style every year – and for them all to become multi-instrumentalists, seasoned performers and an asset to the local community.

Becoming a “Musical School”

And by that stage your school will have become miraculously transformed into a truly “Musical School,” one where music and music-making is part of the culture and affecting every aspect of school life. And your pupils will have undergone massive personal transformations, developing an enormous range of interpersonal skills, and finding a sense of belonging and genuine wellbeing. That’s real progression, real education, and real satisfaction. And that’s what it’s all about.

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