Beyond the Beat

GAZETTEER Vol. 1 April 2020

Hi Trailblazers! We’re sorry we can’t be with you at the clubs, but over the next few weeks we’d like to stay in touch, so we’ll be sending some posts to you on the St. Alban’s blog.

Need to relax or just want to try something different? Check out these musical ideas.


We believe that drums made from natural objects like tree trunks and animal skins were the first instruments used by humans. Since then, they’ve spread across the world, including in places like Africa, Europe and Asia.


A modern day drum from Ghana, Africa.

West Africa: The Djembe
The African Djembe was played to announce the arrival of the King of Mali back in 1200 CE. It was so loud it could be heard between mountaintops!

Figure of a boy playing a drum. From early 12th-13th century, China.

China: Chinese Drumming
The earliest known drums in China date back nearly 4000 years ago around the Shang Dynasty. Chinese drums are used for celebrations (weddings, holidays) and in the military to motivate soldiers. Chinese drums are often red to symbolize good luck.


Try out the Djembe and Chinese drumming styles. All you need is a drum (a food container or bucket works great!) and two drum sticks (we’ve been using pencils).


We want to see you drumming! Ask an adult to post a picture on social media: tag @ROMtoronto and use the hashtag #ROMTrailblazers


Even though drums were the first instrument to be created, they certainly weren’t the last. Today there are 6 categories of musical instruments, with around 300 in each – that means there’s over 1500 different ways to make some noise with an instrument!


Categories of Musical Instruments (thank you Toronto Symphony Orchestra)

There are 6 main categories of musical instruments:

  • Woodwind, flutes and recorders fall into this group
  • Brass, for all the trombonists and trumpet players
  • Percussion, these are the things you hit to make music
  • Keyboard, tickle those ivories on a piano or organ
  • Bowed strings, are played with a bow, think of a violin
  • Guitar family, this family is full of different types of guitars!
Guitar from 17th century, Italy. Made by Joseph Filano Donati. Made from wood, bone and mother-of-pearl.
Clay sculpture of man playing a flute. 100-700 AD. North coast, Peru.  


A Trailblazer with their homemade drum. 2019. Toronto, Canada.

Try making your own instruments using materials from around the house (or natural materials you find outside). What category is your instrument from?

Stuck? Here are some examples to get you thinking! – Check out Felt Magnet!


We’d love to see what you made! Take a picture of your instrument and ask an adult to share it on social media: tag @ROMToronto and use the hashtag #ROMTrailblazers


One instrument is great, but more instruments are even better! Mixing is the practice of blending and layering different sounds together to create something entirely new.


Make your own mix using

Have a great music-filled week! From your ROM Trailblazer Leaders,

Caitlin and Mahmoud

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