This spring PMAC is launching a new bucket drumming class, as well as a free bucket drumming workshop, where students ages 10-14 can explore rhythm in a fun, interactive group setting. Whether you have musical experience or are a curious beginner, bucket drumming is a welcoming space for everyone. All materials are provided. 

Interactive Learning, Infinite Possibilities: Bucket Drumming at PMAC

The interactive curriculum of PMAC’s Bucket Drumming class engages students of all levels using a blend of auditory and visual learning. The group will start by building a baseline understanding of drum patterns and then progress through more advanced skills, such as deciphering notations and crafting intricate patterns, as the class progresses. Students will also be inspired by videos of contemporary bucket-drummers and have the chance to make original compositions. 

Bucket Drumming will be led by Nathan Wotton, PMAC Teaching Artist and Portsmouth School District Director of Choirs, grades 6-12. As a seasoned educator with more than 5 years of experience teaching bucket drumming, Mr. Wotton has witnessed firsthand how much joy and learning students can get out of this unique musical experience. 

“This class is for anyone and everyone – no experience needed. We will learn by doing, and have a lot of fun along the way,” Mr. Wotton says. “We have all the materials, all we need is students to hold the sticks! We’ll start at square 1 and grow from there–by the end of the classes, you’ll be playing as a full group like a pro!”

Class Details

Workshop Details

There will be a free bucket drumming class on Thursday, March 7, from 4:00-4:45pm. Signing up online in advance is recommended (so we know how many buckets are needed), but not required. Register for the free workshop here (ages 10-14).

Educational Benefits of Bucket Drumming

The benefits of bucket drumming extend beyond just making music. From fostering creativity to developing essential life skills, participating in bucket drumming is a rewarding and enriching experience.

1. Rhythm and Timing: Bucket drummers learn to internalize beats, maintain steady tempos, and synchronize their movements. Students develop an awareness of rhythm and timing that transfers well to traditional drum-set and percussion skills, as well as other musical instruments and non-musical activities that involve complex timing.

2. Multitasking Skills: Learning to play bucket drums involves coordinating different rhythms and movements simultaneously. By working to master complex patterns and techniques, students develop multitasking abilities that are transferable to various real-life situations, including academics and extracurricular activities.

3. Creative Expression: Bucket drumming lets individuals explore unique rhythmic patterns and sounds. Students have the freedom to experiment with different drumming techniques, invent new rhythms, and express themselves artistically. This creative outlet fosters self-expression, boosts confidence, and nurtures a sense of individuality.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration: In bucket drumming class, participants learn to listen attentively to others, communicate effectively, and synchronize their playing with fellow drummers. These collaborative experiences promote teamwork, mutual respect, empathy, and a sense of camaraderie among participants.

The History of Bucket Drumming

Bucket drumming emerged as a creative response to limited resources, with musicians utilizing everyday objects like buckets, cans, and pots as percussion instruments. Examples of the art form can be found around the world, and stretch back longer than you might imagine. During the Civil War, for example, teenage volunteers practiced drills accompanied by a “dinner-bucket drum corps.” 

The 5-gallon plastic buckets associated with contemporary bucket drumming started to become widely accessible in the 1980s. Teenager Larry Wright popularized the style by playing on buckets in the New York City subway, using different sized buckets to generate different sounds and  using his feet to lift buckets in time with his drumming. Other street musicians across the country also adopted these basic plastic buckets because of their affordability and portability. Today bucket drumming has moved beyond basic beats to be a dynamic and inclusive form of musical expression.

Registration Details

Register for the class here (ages 10-14!

Register for the free workshop here (ages 10-14)