How to Make a Jamaican Drum for Kids

Written by nathaniel miller
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Often, when a person thinks of Jamaican music, they will identify it with the vibrant sounds of the steel drum. Steel drums or pans are actually instruments that originated in Trinidad. Typically, the pan is a pitched percussion instrument, tuned chromatically and made from a 55-gallon drum of the type that stores oil. However, many are now made as toys for children and can be made from even small coffee cans.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dowel,
  • Rubber bands,
  • Large coffee can or olive oil can
  • Small hammer

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  1. 1

    Make your drum stick by rapping rubber bands around a 6-inch piece of ½-inch dowel.

  2. 2

    Set your can on a flat surface and use a piece of chalk to draw a line just slightly off centre to divide into two slightly different sizes.

  3. 3

    Use a hammer of an appropriate size to pound on the line you have drawn, forcing the surface of the drum down.

  4. 4

    Use your drum stick to test your drum, and you should get at least two different notes.

  5. 5

    If you are not having any luck or want more notes to work with, try pounding up on the inside of the coffee can as well.

Tips and warnings

  • As with any instrument, practice makes perfect when learning how to play the Jamaican drum.

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