Gathering Drum for Preschool and Kindergarten Ages

  • The gathering drum offers a very special, unique experience to the music classroom.  Sitting around the huge Lynn Kleiner Remo Gathering Drum* immediately promotes group participation.  This bonding experience creates a feeling of community as the vibrations surround the little musicians. Timing and coordination improve and creativity is fostered.  A small child has the power to set the tempo of a song, show dynamic changes and lead in creating a variety of sounds and movement.

    Beat:   A group of children around the gathering drum work together to keep the beat.  First with both hands together, once that is mastered, alternating their hands. Other patterns for beat keeping are shared to encourage creativity and leadership from the students.   Students take turns sharing their way to keep the beat such as using flat hands, using our fists, tapping just one finger, tapping two fingers, moving hand from open to closed, side to side, in and out, even elbows!

    Adding another level of difficulty, different hand motions can be introduced to indicate chord changes in a song.  For example, continuing to keep the beat on the drum, hands are closed to make a fist if it’s a I chord, if it’s a V chord, hands are open. Three different movements can be used for songs with I, IV and V chords:  fist, open hand, flipped hand (palms up).

    The drum is also used for special sound effects.  “Dancing fingers” on the drum sound like rain on a roof.  Moving the hands in a circular motion on the drum head sounds like wind.   Thunder can be created by playing quickly.   Turning the drum over, students move it forward and back to create a swishing sound which can be done to the beat of a song.  Experience the form of a piece of music by pushing the drum back and forth as you glide it on the carpet for the A section and move it in a circular direction for the B section.  The children enjoy working together to perform these two types of movement using the gathering drum.   Moving in a circular motion will create another sound. Placing an object or objects on the drum will create other timbres and can be quite exciting as well as players watch the objects “dance on the drum.”

    Once the beat is mastered, additional challenges can be introduced. Rhythmic ostinatos can also be played by a group of children to accompany a song. These can be created by incorporating many ways to play the drum so different tones and sound effects are created while playing the repeated pattern.

    The drum can be incorporated in the music making of the class by having a group of children at the gathering drum playing on very specific beats, for example, ask the players to play on specific beats, or specific words in a song, or counting while playing on certain beats such as  1, 3, 6, and 7. 


    *Our newest model is lighter weight, has the new colorful Sound Dot inside and sparkles more than ever!


    For activities, see drumming activities in the books:

    The annual teacher training,  will introduce these 20 Gathering Drum Experiences:

    Gathering Drum – 20 Experiences common in Lynn Kleiner’s Activities

    1. Beat
    2. Form
    3. Phrasing
    4. Dynamics
    5. Tempo
    6. Music Vocabulary
    7. Expressive Qualities
    8. Improvisation
    9. Creativity
    10. Rhythm
    11. Surprise Props under the drum
    12. Surprise Props on top of the drum
    13. Surprise Props in the drum
    14. Story Telling
    15. Chord Changes
    16. Ostinatos
    17. Gross Motor Skills
    18. Fine Motor Skills
    19. Ensemble (different parts played at the same time!)
    20. Leadership/Self Confidence




  • Jennifer Ross likes this
  • Betsy McElroy
    Betsy McElroy We just held our open house for our preschool kids to come in and meet us before the new year starts. I had 3 classes of kiddos coming in to visit me in my classroom. I had the gathering drum out with a few plastic frogs on top. I asked each child to help...  more
    September 3, 2016
  • Lynn Kleiner
    Lynn Kleiner I'm so happy to hear this! Don't forget Stormy Day from Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too. Scarves are hidden under the drum and the teacher leads the children to discover them during the rainbow verse, then everyone gets up and dances with the scar...  more
    September 4, 2016