Brightening up your play space can be tricky. You want the best equipment to increase opportunities for children, but also equipment that will go with the aesthetic theme of your area.
Musical play comes with many great benefits for children, which we discussed in our previous post The Benefits and Impact of Playing Music, and the Tung Drum is one colorful and exciting item from our musical range which we simply love.
The Brain Workout Children Need
We all need to reduce our screen time. As adults, we are spending up to 11 hours a day on average just staring at bright screens, clicking and swiping the day away. If that isn’t bad enough, the average time children spend is up to 2 hours doing the very same thing – that is rising every year.
Screen time may not relate to percussion play or any other engagement with a musical instrument, but music does offer an alternative activity to that of a tablet or gaming console.
“The rhythmic accuracy in brain activity that is observed when a person maintains a steady beat is also important to the problem-solving capacities measured with the intelligence tests.”
Professor Frederic Ullen of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm shows through his research that there is, in fact, a link between higher intelligence and good timing – both correlating with the part of the brain that deals with problem-solving.
Introducing children to drumming at a younger age provides them with the early opportunity to put themselves on a road of better concentration and potentially, higher intelligence.
Introduce Drumming to the Playground
While children learn in the classroom, there are always chances outside of this environment for their brains to absorb more information. Consider the opportunities in your school’s play space; beating an instrument to a rhythm can be integrated into fun exercises which teachers can lead, allowing children to focus their minds and exercise their brains while they play.
As children return to the classroom, evidence of the effects of drumming should start to show in their behavior. Some children will be better focused, keeping their heads down and working more effectively, some will be more alert and responsive, some may discover all new skills in musical arts and go down a path of success in performance or theory.
Try these fun and interactive exercises to help children play their way to a more productive mindset:
1.The Drumming Circle – Place each drum in a position that faces the middle of the circle. There are many exercises that can be performed from here and we love the interaction a circle gives a group. By facing inward and having a closed circle, children can take turns playing a beat for the rest to repeat.
If you have a spare drum or even just a stick, try playing a beat to the rest of the circle first. The children can then take it in turns to repeat your beat, before taking it in turns to be the beat setter.
Starting with a simple beat will help the circle to understand the process and build their confidence in their own playing; once the children in the circle are warmed up, they will be ready to set more complex beats for the circle to repeat back to them.
We recommend more than 4 drums for this exercise, however, you can replace drums with boxes or tubs, or have your circle sit around a table inside the classroom or in your outdoor space (see our Game Top Table option) and use their hands or soft beaters on the surface to play the beats.
2.How’s Your Timing? – Once children have built confidence in their playing, give them the opportunity to show what they can do all together.
Starting with one player, a child can play a recurring beat on a drum. The other players can then take it in turns to join in, playing in time to the first beat. This will help children learn to play in time, whether they all mimic the player who started or play different notes entirely.
The Tung Drum is already tuned making it perfect for this exercise. This will give children an added element of confidence when they play as no note will sound wrong.
Strengthen and Heal with Percussion Play
It may not be the most generic form of strength building or even a go-to method of therapy for relieving muscle pain, but playing a drum will provide children with the means to work their muscles in a way that isn’t strenuous or fatiguing.
Build Strength With Every Beat
With regular play, children can use drumming exercises to benefit their body as well as their brain. Through consistent rhythm over long periods of play, they can really build on their endurance and coordination. This will help them improve the way they play resulting in stricter timing and movement and ultimately, boosting the benefits they are gaining physically and mentally.
Strength training is not to be confused with bodybuilding, and in this case particularly. Children will be improving the strength in their arms as they beat the drums, helping them to be fit and healthy in another aspect of play during their recess or outdoor learning sessions.
For children who pick up injuries in their arms or shoulders, the action of beating a drum can be a good exercise throughout the healing process. We do not recommend this unless a child is told to begin strengthening exercises by their doctor, but once they are ready, the movement can be performed slowly and carefully to start getting the muscles used to moving again.
The Mental Benefits of Drumming
Playing drums can also act as a form of mental therapy.
Having multiple drums and performing the exercises above will allow children to socialize – they can work together to figure out timing and how to play different rhythms. This sort of opportunity will help children to feel more involved with one another and make friends.
Working together and being social in this way will boost children’s moods resulting in the effects we suggested you will notice in the classroom. With happier children, you should see a more focused and engaged class with the concentration levels required to excel in lessons.
Our Tung Drum is a colorful and rich sounding drum that will fit perfectly into any space that you want to introduce drumming into. Whether your space is in the classroom or the great outdoors, the addition of drums will help you to create an inspiring and engaging musical play space where children can learn to play together while improving their own physical skills and mentality.