drum workshopDrum workshop instructor Steve Teekens helps with drum-lacing

Submitted by MNO citizen Jocelyne Couture

On December 6, 2015, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Toronto and York Métis Council (TYRMC) held their annual business meeting and offered MNO citizens and friends a drum-making workshop following the meeting.

The drum-making workshop featured First Nations instructor Steve Teekens. Situated at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the workshop focused on making the drums as well as the importance of drums and drumming in Aboriginal culture.

For the workshop, participants used the following materials and tools:

  • Rawhide (they used white-tail deer), soaked overnight
  • Rawhide laces, soaked overnight
  • A circular wooden frame
  • A leather hole punch
  • A “can-do” attitude

Making a drum was not for the faint of heart, participants learned. Teekens explained how each individual wooden frame is handmade by assembling blocks of identically shaped white pine to form the sturdy circular frame and carefully sanded down by hand to ensure the soaked rawhide can be stretched across without tearing. Next, the pre-cut and pre-punched rawhide piece is stretched over the frame.

Luckily for participants, the frames and rawhide had already been prepared by Teekens beforehand.

Next came the tricky part of sewing the fettucini-like rawhide laces through the pre-made holes to secure the drum cover to the frame. Attention to detail is crucial at this point as it’s easy to get the laces mixed up.

The last step was to create the drum’s handle on the back. Teekens made certain that any mistakes were corrected and everyone was able to bring home their very own beautiful and functional hand drum, complete with a drumstick, to ensure maximum merry-making. Just in time to bring a musical addition home for the holidays!

Published on: January 28, 2016