About the activity
Here are some basic first sounds which you need to familiarise yourself with to get you started:
The Kick (Bass) Drum:
This is arguably the most important sound, but one of the easiest to master. The Bass Drum is usually hit using a foot pedal, hence being called the ‘kick drum’. It has a very deep sound, because of its large size. Say the word ‘Bear’ over and over putting more emphasis and force behind the ‘B’. Build the pressure behind your lips and try and blow it out with force through tight lips. ‘B-B-B-Bear.’ When you lose the ‘ear’ in ‘Bear’ you’re left with the ‘B’ or ‘buh’ of the bass drum.
On a drum kit, a Hi-Hat refers to two cymbals that are pushed together and apart using a foot pedal. When the cymbals are together and hit with a stick it is called a ‘Closed Hi-Hat’ and when they’re apart; an ‘Open Hi-Hat’ — which makes a longer sound. Think of the letter ‘T’ and the letter ‘S’, combine those two letters and push the sound out through your teeth, the mouth should be tight and small. After practising that for a while cut the sound off quickly with your tongue. ‘Ts’ instead of ‘Tsss’. Try repeating the sound over and over and then maybe end with an ‘Open Hi-Hat’: ‘Ts-Ts-Ts-Tsss’.
To make this sound, imagine you’re trying to get something off of your lips. Push a ‘P’ sound through your lips, tightening them as you do so, to make the sound stronger and more percussive. Follow this with a ‘sh’, which can start as a long sound, becoming shorter once you’ve got the hang of it. A really strong ‘P’ followed by a cut off ‘sh’, will give you the ‘Psh’ of a classic snare drum.
After practising these sounds independently of one another, try running them together. The Hi-Hat can add variation and high notes to a low drum beat. Start just by repeating the sounds over and over. Then create a basic rhythm with two sounds, before adding a third, then a fourth sound together, in a more complicated rhythm.
You can add in any sounds, ‘Mmm’, as in a hum, or ‘Mmm that was delicious’. Or the first letter of any word said strongly through tight lips. ‘The ‘D’ of ‘Dug’ or the ‘M’ of ‘Man’, ‘M-M-M-Man’. Experiment and play with the sounds and most importantly the rhythm.