Overwhelmed by challenges?

You’re not alone. It’s never been so difficult to deliver the high quality education that our children need.

Stressed teacher

There’s one very simple solution

One that’s been tried and tested over more than 40,000 years, and which is hard-wired into our genetics.

The Drums for Schools solution follows the same magical, collaborative learning approach that evolved in the earliest human groups. We’ve simply adapted it for the classroom and taken advantage of modern technology to deliver the teaching resources that make it possible for class teachers to take the lead. It works because . . .

School children playing djembes

The instruments are easy to play

So it all sounds great from day 1, boosting everyone’s self-confidence. The instruments are also specially adapted for the classroom, easy to look after and built to last.

People of all abilities playing music together

The styles are intuitive and fun

So everyone is engaged 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.

Schoold children playing Indonesian Gamelan

It’s easy to teach

And teachers are supported every step of the way by resources designed for non-musicans, so no prior music experience is needed. Teaching guides, Schemes of Work, Lesson Plans, Video and Audio clips, Cultural background . . .

Children playing steel drums

It’s affordable

30 player class sets start at just £297, African Drumming from £873 and the same set can be used with every class and year group, so it really can cost from £1 per pupil to get started.

Children playing Samba drums

It boosts wellbeing and life skills

This is the BIG one – learning these musical styles 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 without effort.

Ready to take things further?

What our customers say

  • 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

It’s easy to put into practice

The benefits may be huge and 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.

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 Drums for Schools approach really 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 1 – so you won’t need to cover your ears!

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!

Ticks all the boxes

As well as covering the music syllabus the approach delivers the engagement and results that OFSTED and parents are looking for. You’ll quickly rate as a “Musical School.”

Empowering & 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 return.

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 is inclusive group and whole class music making. This is our single focus – and our mission is to make the power of music available to everyone.

  • I know it could have been any company that supplied me with my drums, but I am so glad it was you guys not least for the way you responded to every query I had but more for the way you enthuse all things rhythm. You really do come across as hobby first, business second and in this ruthless world it is a welcome change.
    Ian Beating Heart Promotions
  • We’ve recently discovered ‘Drums for Schools’ – and we are instantly impressed
    by their customer service, product knowledge and the range and quality of their instruments. This is a real breakthrough for schools looking to explore multi-cultural music-making for small and large groups in an affordable way. We highly recommend ‘Drums for Schools’.
    Brendon Music for Schools Ltd
  • Our order just arrived and I’m so happy with everything! I’m going to order all my instruments from your company from now on as the price, service and delivery are all better than the other companies I’ve tried.
    Gabi The Playing Space
  • We have been more than satisfied with the quality of the drums. They look good and play well, and the kids have enjoyed using them. We appreciated the concern you showed for our desire to have the drums asap, and the substitutions you made. I can’t fault your customer care! One very satisfied customer!
    Olly Regional Music Service
  • At a class assembly our Year 3 and 4 children dazzled the school and visiting parents with their gamelan performance. The children not only love the music -especially the gong, but also the etiquette rituals that surround the orchestra.
    Carolina Victoria First School
  • We have purchased time and time again your 30 player African Drumming Pack as it is perfect for delivering the African Drumming wider opportunities lessons in our primary schools, giving each pupil a rewarding playing experience and helping the tutors deliver a measured group exciting and varied lessons with the tutor book you supply.
    Anita Regional Music Hub
  • There’s been great excitement and feedback from students so far.
    The instruments are of a very good quality and the accompanying guides are great to get going. We are delighted that we made this investment and are looking forward to purchasing some more sets hopefully in the future.
    Aaron Leicester Partnership NHS Trust
  • We love the books here. Your texts are really clear, concise and in-depth without being complicated. The most popular is the taiko book, especially for high schools.Taiko drumming is becoming more popular here in Australia so it’s really great to have a text to go with our packages.
    Anita Optimum Percussion
  • The order arrived in great condition and up to expectations. I am already using them as part of a year 9 samba project and as part of the school batteria. Many thanks for the great service and excellent value for money. I will be recommending Drums For Schools to my fellow music teachers in different schools
    Frances Conisborough College
  • I am very happy with the drums – they are getting used well already!
    Service has been excellent – quick delivery and drums very well packed. Customer service is good and have been very impressed with the after sales care.
    Sue Kemsley Primary Academy

Ticks all the boxes

From just £1 per pupil

30 player class sets start at just £277 and the same set can be used with every class and year group – there really isn’t a better use of limited funding than this.

Includes and empowers EVERY pupil

This is an intrinsically inclusive approach, unlike classical western music, and it’s brilliant at developing pupils’ social, emotional and life skills.

Boosts well being and belonging

Having fun playing together, helping one another, and making a great sound from day 1 is the recipe for success. The sessions leave everyone feeling good, that they’re part of a real team, and wanting more . . .

Upskills and revitalises teachers

Watch class teachers who previously dreaded music lessons transform into inspired music leaders, giving you back control and self-sufficiency in music delivery.

Engages everyone

Because pupils of every ability and background enjoy these hands-on music-making sessions, they’ll quickly become your best attended lessons.

Delivers a high quality music education

And impresses OFSTED and parents with show-stopping performances by all pupils after just a term of lessons.

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.

Ready to take things further?

Browse solutions

There are 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.

Overview the approach

This pack of insights, articles and reviews will show you how to include, empower and transform pupils, teachers and the whole school.

Book free consult

To talk through the practicalities of implementing this life-changing approach in your school, schedule a free consult with our Director, Andy Gwatkin.

© Drums for Schools

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.