November 2, 2023 – West Bend, WI – They had the beat at the Museum of Wisconsin Art this week as 17 people joined Ben Haimann from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in a free course on bucket drumming.
“At the end just play one sound in the center of the drum,” instructed Haimann. “You are absolute experts.”
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Haimann walked though stops and starts, beats and tempo. “When I teach, I say if you can vocalize it, you can play it,” he said offering encouragement to folks making music on a 5-gallon orange bucket from Home Depot.
The sound of wooden drumsticks rapping on hard plastic echoed through the large entryway at MOWA, adding a bit of musical flair to guests experiencing the colorful Lon Michels exhibit.
Not only did Haimann focus on the high-hat portion of the bucket drum, but he also injected some history into the music.
“In West Africa this would be a start-and-stop call,” he said. “The rhythm has roots and a deep connection. Executing it with the limbs and dexterity is the big trick.”
As the class moved forward the beats progressed.
1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5… said Haimann, his voice matching the rhythm of the beat.
“Now we will do stacking where we put two rhythms on top of each other,” he said.
After the one-and-a-half-hour session, participants raved about the experience.
“I had to participate,” said drummer Wendy Leece. “It was calling to me and we were all one.”
Michelle Margelofsky of Ashippun said it’s always fun to learn something new. “I really like a lot of experiences but today drumming wins.
“I can’t wait to go home and drum Genesis in the air tonight by Phil Collins. I think I’m ready,” joked a confident Margelofsky.