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Bucket Drumming Class

My book Drumset For Preschoolers was designed to be used with drum kits of all types (Including mini, full size, electronic, and the Rock Band video game peripheral), Over time, I discovered another practical application: 5-gallon buckets, the type that are readily available at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

The color-coded system in Drumset For Preschoolers provides a clear way to communicate with young drummers; colors are assigned to various parts of the drum kit. With a little imagination, the same concept can used with buckets. The following table details five bucket drumming sound locations, their relative drum set parts/sounds, and color assignments for each of these sounds.

Bucket Colors Chart


  1. Remove the handle from the bucket. You can do this by slightly bending the metal and jimmying the tab out of the hole.
  2. Using strips of colored duct tape, apply as shown here:
    DIY: Bucket Colors
  3. For a quieter, more mellower tone, make your own mute pads as described in the following Drummer Cafe article — DIY: Homemade Mute Pads. However, to match the color-coded system outlined here, apply the stickers to the shelf liner surface using the pattern shown in the following photo below. Scotch Tape placed over the stickers helps make the stickers last longer.DIY: Bucke t Colors

Other Considerations

If you plan on purchasing a classroom set of buckets, you will soon discover how difficult they are to pull apart. Here are two solutions that I use:

  1. When you go to Home Depot (or Lowe’s) to buy your drums, pick out the buckets that come apart easily from the rest of the stack.
  2. Apply constant pressure — but not with maximum effort — as you pull. Rotate the bucket and repeat.
  • Throne — An additional bucket becomes your seat.
  • YouTube Playlist — The following playlist includes clips of songs from my bucket drumming classes. This will give you a better idea of how the color-coded system works with buckets.

Andy Ziker

Andy Ziker is a teacher and professional drummer in the San Jose, California area. He has authored several instructional books, including Drum Aerobics, Daily Drum Warm-Ups, and Drumset for Preschoolers, and The Jazz Waltz.

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