Beat of Your Own Drum

Program Sponsor: Slaight Family Foundation
Learning MaterialDrumming Resources

VIBE Arts’ Beat of Your Own Drum program provides a unique opportunity for youth to create culturally diverse, sustainable and authentic music resources that stay within their community.

Over the course of several weeks, students work with a Master drum-maker or Indigenous Elder to build a set of West African Djembes and Djuns, or a set of Aboriginal Hand Drums. The programs’ intention is to develop Non-western music resources in Indigenous and African Arts that are produced by and for youth. The Drums and accompanying Music Education form the basis of innovative arts programming that includes socio-cultural awareness and provokes authentic and embodied learning.

As the program progresses students work with experienced Arts Educators to generate original music and choreography that they perform as a means of sharing learnings with peer and public audiences. The program is further enhanced by additional music lessons and arts involvement the following year as well as professional development resources, community contacts and accompanying lessons and units with cross curriculum links for teachers.

Learning material

To download a document, click the “Pop-out” icon on the top right corner of the PDF.

Math Through Drumming - Primary Grade Lesson (Grade 2)

Beat Of Your Own Drum: A Geography Unit on Migration Integrated with Language, Drama and Music - For Intermediate (Grade 8)

Glossary of Instruments and Terms Related to West African Drumming

African Drumming Classes

Click here to print the list of African Drumming Classes

Storage and Maintenance

  • The safest way to carry a drum is to hold it in front of you and hug it with both arms.
  • Handle with care, as if carrying a baby.
  • Bags are recommended for long-term care and transport. These do not have to be fancy and can be made from recycled materials such as a large burlap coffee bags.
  • Drums are sensitive to temperature and humidity. It is best to store them in a dry room of average temperature (21° Celsius/70° Fahrenheit). It is sometimes recommended to have a humidifier in the room. Do not keep near a furnace or in a damp or cold storage room.
  • If space restrictions force you to stack the drums then stack them face to face with the skins touching. It is also okay to stack them horizontally with their skins facing out.
  • It is important to respect the drums. Never use a drum as a table or as a stool. Never rest your feet on a drum.
  • Do not play the drums aggressively. Banging on a drum will hurt your hands and may damage the skin.
  • The drums need to be tuned every so often. A step-by-step guide to tuning djembes can be found on our website at ???
  • Pay attention to the wood, watching for cracks and chips. Repairing these in the early stages will prevent further damage.
  • Pay attention to the skins, looking for tears, cracks, peeling. Skins can be replaced if needed.

The following drummers can be contacted for repairs to drum skins and shells.

African Drums & Art Crafts →
Roots & Culture →
Barrington Hibbert 647-833-5568,

Click here to print Storage and Maintenance techniques.


Muhtadi International Dumming Festival
Mississauga Dum & Dance Festival
TDSB Cluster Schools Drumming Festival

Drumming Resources

African Drums and Art Crafts

Saikou Saho
618 Dundas Street West (Kensingon Market), Toronto

Shaw Percussion/Orion Drums

Phil Shaw
5258 Old Homestead Rd., Sutton

Soul Drums

Doug Sole
5295 Yonge Street (Yonge & Finch), Toronto
416-225-5295 or 1-800-305-SOUL

Woodshed Percussion

Andy Morris
Toronto (Lansdowne & Bloor)

Alpha Rhythm Roots

Alpha Rhythm Roots

292 Dupont St, (Mailbox address), PO#40003, Toronto, ON M5R 1V9

416-473-0759 or 1-866-496-7864

Roots and Culture

Jean-Paul Mohammed

Juliet Hess

Juliet Hess