Every summer, I do a self evaluation of how the last year went and what I could do differently. I analyze what worked and what didn't - in my teaching and in the choices of activities, incentives, activities, etc. we did throughout the year and in my summer camps. One very successful thing for my students this year was...
What did we do? We worked on steady beat TOGETHER. They had to really listen to each other. Keep in mind, during this camp there were 20 students so it was definitely an outdoor activity! With 20 students using drumsticks on buckets at the same time, it could have quickly gotten out of hand, but they did SO well. They worked hard to keep a steady beat together and to make sure they stayed together.
Then I added simple techniques like drumming in the center of the bucket and then on the rim. Tapping their drumsticks together on a beat, etc. Then we tried some of those techniques together. Again, they did SO well. So throughout the week, I increased the level of difficulty. Occasionally we (me, included!) would forget the order of our drumming - left right, rim, sticks, etc., but for the most part it really worked!
When those things got easier, I broke the kids up into 2 groups and had each group do a different rhythm. Once they each got that rhythm down, we put them together! It was so fun and the smiles on their faces was worth it!
I'm planning to work on more bucket drumming during the warmer weather as we have group lessons this year. I'm pretty excited to see their enthusiasm and excitement to work together! If you are interested in using bucket drumming yourself, there are a couple of websites that have some free rhythm patterns to help you out - here and here. They also give great information about technique!