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Graham Academy’s bucket drummers having fun while learning style

Jude Jenkins lifts his drumsticks above his head in preparation for the cue to start drumming during a recent session of bucket drumming at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook.
Jude Jenkins lifts his drumsticks above his head in preparation for the cue to start drumming during a recent session of bucket drumming at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. - Diane Crocker
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

It’s a Thursday afternoon at The Convent on Humber Road in Corner Brook and the unmistakable beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” reverberates out into the cool fall air. 

Inside and up in the great room the musicians responsible for the noise are hard at work mastering the beat, one, two — to the centre, and then one beat on the outside of their drums.

But these are no ordinary drummers and their instruments are no ordinary drums.

It’s a group of children from kindergarten to Grade 3 who are part of The Graham Academy’s bucket drumming program.

Teacher and musician Craig Caines leads the bucket drumming program at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. - Diane Crocker
Teacher and musician Craig Caines leads the bucket drumming program at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. - Diane Crocker

It’s a new program for the performance arts training division of Gros Morne Summer Music, led by Craig Caines.

Caines is drummer and plays with The Proper Things. He’s also a special needs teacher. Those two things together made him a good fit when the Graham Academy decided to launch the program. 

“You’ve got to keep it fun." - Craig Caines

Caines said it’s not his normal type of drumming, but it's one that has become more popular over the past couple of years.

“A lot of street performers play on buckets,” he said. 

It’s quite easy to get into as the equipment is pretty inexpensive. All you need is a bucket and some drumsticks.

To prepare for the class, which started in October and will run until December, Caines watched videos on the Internet and has been searching for simple songs with a straightforward rhythm. 

He’s also been throwing in some basic music theory and, so far, the class has made progress.

“Every week I think of new ways to try and keep control and keep them focused.” With drumsticks around that can sometimes be difficult.

“You’ve got to keep it fun. You can’t have too much instruction,” said Caines.

Caines will soon be adding some Christmas songs to the group’s repertoire as they prepare for the Gros Morne Summer Music Christmas Gala on Dec. 22.

As a teacher, working with the group has helped him change his approach to dealing with an age group he normally doesn't teach.

He’s hoping the Graham Academy will continue with another program and maybe even offer it to older students.

Jack Hoskins is part of the bucket drumming program at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. -Diane Crocker
Jack Hoskins is part of the bucket drumming program at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. -Diane Crocker

Seven-year-old Jude Jenkins didn’t know what bucket drumming was before joining the class and now that he does, he likes it.

“You get to do different songs and learn about drums,” he said.

He said bucket drumming is helping him learn more about notes and how long to hold them.

While he enjoys the drumming he plans to be a piano player when he grows up.

His favourite song so far has been “We Will Rock You.”

Five-year-old Jack Hoskins prefers The Proclaimers' “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” also known to the kids as the Terry Fox song.

When he drums he said he just goes for it and doesn’t count the beats in his head.

Hoskins said he enjoys the weekly class.

“Because I like all the songs we play.”

All the kids in the class have named their buckets and Hoskins has called his, "Loud".

“Because he is loud.” 

Jenkins has called his bucket, "Nameless".

diane.crocker@thewesternstar.com
Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

Bucket drumming is a new offering at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. - Diane Crocker
Bucket drumming is a new offering at The Graham Academy in Corner Brook. - Diane Crocker

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