Inexpensive way to expand percussion instrument inventory
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I started the instrumental music program at my elementary school this year, offering only winds and brass. I want to offer percussion next year, but can’t afford to buy expensive instruments like a concert bass drum. A snare drum will fit in my budget, but I’d like to have more than one percussion instrument. I’d also like students to have more time on actual instruments (not just practice pads) and I’m not sure how well it would go to have students share one snare drum during lessons/concerts.
Would it be ill-advised to buy a drum set and use the drums individually to flesh out my instrument inventory? I know the drums aren’t quite the same. Any thoughts or advice on this?
That worked out alright for me. The only percussion equipment at my school when I started was a drum set (and a bad one at that), and it was nice to have some variety with the snare and toms. The cymbals were terrible, but the kids and I didn’t really care since that is all we had. I did manage to find the money to get a xylophone pretty early on, though, and I think that some sort of mallet instrument is necessary. Are your students renting snare/bell kits? If so, perhaps you could have a rotation of them bringing them to school so that they do get some mallet experience.
Another thing to consider may be to ask the high schools in your district if they have any percussion instruments that they may be retiring. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they may be buying new instruments, and are willing to part with their old instruments for free. I have also heard of people converting drum sets into makeshift concert instruments, but obviously, this isn’t an ideal option, but if it is all you can do, it at at least gets more kids involved.
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