The Making of a Drum


Around three weeks ago I attended a creative workshop…..a drum-making workshop.  A friend had let me know about it two weeks before that, and it sounded like a lot of fun, that I signed up to participate.  And she did, too.

All I knew at first was that the required materials would be supplied, and the whole group would learn together how to make native drums… for each of us.  Our instructors, David and Laura, were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and so helpful as they guided us through the various steps. We all started with soaked, already cut deerskin as well as the already shaped spruce wood frame.

Feeling so new at this craft, after a while the flow of binding the deerskin onto the frame with more deerskin “strings” started to happen.  It was an enjoyable process to work with these natural materials and see the drum slowly take shape.  Meanwhile, David would tell us some native stories, when he wasn’t giving us directions or demonstrating the next procedure.

We learned the importance of feeling respect and gratitude for the animal that gave itself, and thus its gifts, so that we could make these crafts.

At the end of the session we had all shared some conversation, some snacks (during the break), some laughter – because we were all having so much fun! – and held in our hands our newly bound and shaped and tightened, still moist drums.  Not yet ready to be used, but it wouldn’t be long before they’d be dry.  All of us felt great as well as satisfied with our finished work and posed as one big group for the final photos.

As we left both David and Laura sent us off with a native song – he used a shaker and she sang – that had parts that we could all join in on ie. the chorus.  It created a warm feeling of harmony and fellowship.

Now I just have to get into regular habit of oiling and tuning my drum, so it will last and always keep its wonderful resonant sound.

The “drumsticks” we were given, as David had made them prior to the workshop.  These photos show the “inside” of the drum.  You can see the binding as well as the woven handle for ease of holding the drum.


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