February 18, 2021 — Mound Westonka High School band director Gretchen Chilson continues to find creative ways of keeping her students engaged and learning during this non-traditional year. The band students’ latest endeavor is bucket drumming, a popular and portable method to teach rhythm and percussion.
Chilson said that her classes this semester are primarily focused on preparing music for a scheduled May concert. But in an effort to stay COVID safe, each 90-minute class is basically split into two halves with a break in the middle.
The high school band students are rehearsing in the larger Westonka Performing Arts Center (PAC), rather than the band room this year. Chilson explained that aerosol studies about wind instruments indicate that it's safest to play for only 30 minutes, and then leave the room to let the HVAC system clear the air before returning.
After rehearsing for 30 minutes, the students retreat to the PAC lobby to practice bucket drumming for 20 minutes while the air is cleared in the auditorium. They return to their seats to rehearse for another 30 minutes and leave time for the air to clear before the next class arrives.
“Bucket drumming is a fun way to keep kids engaged and learning rhythms, while staying COVID-safe,” said Chilson. Each class will prepare a bucket drum ensemble piece for the spring performance.