CompletedCircleDrums . . . and the beat goes on . . . and on . . . and on . . . and on . . .

Care & Feeding
of Your Drum

Drums and Drumming 101

When you take your drum home tonight: It will take FIVE DAYS for your drum to completely dry. DO NOT TOUCH THE HEAD OR PICK IT UP BY THE HANDLE! When you are taking it home in your vehicle only pick it up by the rim. Lay your drum on a seat or flat surface handle-side down. When you get home pick it up only with your hands on the rim. Dry your drum by hanging it with the hanger provided in a safe place away from animals or children. A closet or curtain rod is a good place. Do not dry your drum over a heater or in a South or West facing window. Be sure to let it dry FIVE DAYS! It will be worth the wait!

Think of your drum as being alive! It is made out of rawhide which is dried skin from an animal. Ours are chiefly made from elk, steer, horse, goat, deer, buffalo and bear stretched on round maple wood frames. In some areas of the world, drums are even made out of fish skin! But a drum can be made from any skin that is large enough to be stretched over some kind of frame. Frames the world over come in varying shapes and sizes including, but not exclusive to, ones made from wood, metal or stone. Humans have been drumming on something, including their own bodies, since the dawn of time. So the list of ingredients to make a drum is open to all possibilities!

Storage: We keep our personal drums hanging on a pegboard in our workshop or on the walls in our home. Be sure not to hang your drum or keep it in direct, hot sunlight or over heaters. Depending upon what kind of climate you are in, the dramatic change in temperature can be hard on it. Never leave your drum in a damp room for long periods of time without using it. Mold can actually grow on both the rawhide and the wooden frame. If you do keep your drum in a cold damp room, you will want to get it warm before you use it by one of a variety of methods mentioned below. There are no really quick good ways to warm a drum that is truly “dead” ~ hide warped and not taut. But, don't despair, there are ways to bring it back to life once again. So be aware that you will have to plan ahead to make sure that your drum is taut and playable.

Travel: When we travel with our drums we carry them in bags. We’ve found that an excellent low cost solution for a drum bag here in Charlotte is a cymbal bag. You can get them at any music store that sells drum kits and accessories, such as Guitar Store or Sam Ashe.

If we are just carrying 2-4 drums, we use bags that we buy from Cedar Mountain Drums in Oregon. Call 503-235-6345 or email . We suggest that you check out their website first: These were the best we had found for the money. But because of the cost of shipping from the Northwest, these bags are not as cost effective as the cymbal bags. If we are carrying a lot of drums for circles or sales, we use large, heavy duffle bags. Drums do travel well in airplanes. We take them as carry-on luggage in the cabin. Usually 13”- 15” drums fit the easiest. You might want to call the airlines and ask if an 18” diameter would fit in the same space. Always treat your drum with respect and take care of it as you travel.

Temperature and humidity changes: Like your skin, drums will become slack or taut with varying temperature and humidity changes. For example, when it is very wet and cold a drum has the tendency to literally soak up the moisture in the air and lose tension in the head. This makes it go “dead.” In other words, it sometimes becomes so loose that when it is struck with the beater or hand there is no resonance to the sound. It is dull and lifeless. This is a typical scenario for the Pacific Northwest in the United States or any humid climate. In this case the drum then needs to be warmed up and dried out. The best way to achieve this is to get it into a warm dry room and let it acclimate itself once again. Do not put it too close to any heat source (heaters, hair dryers, stoves, candles, etc.) as it will cause it to dry out too fast and could do damage to the skin. Think of how your own skin reacts to such conditions. Ouch! A friend of ours on Maui, HI found that just by keeping her drum in a sunnier room, but not in direct sunlight, her drum always had a good, playable voice. Even a friend in Ireland moved her drum into the warmer kitchen rather than a bedroom and it now sings with a beautiful voice with no bother of warm up time. If your drum is not completely “dead,” you can warm it up by simply holding it against your heart for a period of time and your body heat will help it to sing. Plus, what a wonderful way to make a heart connection with your sacred friend and helper.

Here in the Southeast, drums deal with the high humidity pretty much at all times. But the worst times are in the spring and fall when we are not so prone to turning on our air conditioners or heaters which dehumidify the air inside our dwelling. You might try letting your drum sit in the sun just for a short period of time to dry it out. We never recommend it sitting in direct sunlight too long because it can dry out the skin. But in the short term, this may be a viable way to dry out your drum. It will love the fresh air, but don’t forget about it. If your drum’s voice becomes very high, than you’ve left it out in the sun too long. Get it back to shelter and it will be fine. Of course, playing your drum in the sun is fine, though. It will usually love that!

The other extreme in conditions is dry and hot, such as the weather that exists in the Southwestern parts of the U.S. or similar climates. With these types of conditions your drum will become very taut and have a much higher voice to it. Worse case scenarios are the skin actually becoming too tight that it splits (We actually have some friends that this happened to.) or the skin becomes so tight that the frame twists out of shape or even “tacos.” (Picture a taco shell in your mind and you will know what we mean. This happened to us in Tucson once!) These worse case scenarios normally can be avoided with some special care. In this case you want to cool the drum down. Get it in some shade or a cool place inside. We carry a small plastic spritzer bottle with us filled with water when we travel to hot areas. We use it to lightly spray the dry tight drum head to help it cool down. Don't leave your drum in the car exposed to sunlight. You want to be careful not to leave your drum in a hot car uncovered or directly in the sun for a long time. We bury our drums in sleeping bags under blankets and pillows to help keep them cool. Always treat your drum with respect and according to the climate conditions.

Although we fully guarantee our drums, we can’t be responsible for Mother Nature or your neglect to take care of your drum. Remember though, drumheads and frames can be replaced. Obviously, we’ve had to do this several times for ourselves and others. Maybe your drum could be telling you it’s time to replace a part or make another because you are now on a different step in the upward spiral of your soul’s journey.

Respect: Let us add here that you don't want to lay your drum on its face on rough gravel or anything that could damage it. This only stands to reason and is the natural way to treat anything that you love and care for. Remember that your drum came into your life as a guide and helpmate. Once again, give it the respect it is due.

Cleaning and moisturizing: To clean your drum just wipe it with a damp cloth. To moisturize, just rub your hands over the face. The oil from your skin will help it to stay beautiful and lustrous. Plus, its just such a wonderful feeling and sound! If, perchance, the rawhide of your drum happens to dry out far too much, you can use a product called Lexol PH that is available through dry cleaners, Tandy and various other retail outlets. Lexol is a leather cleaner and moisturizer. We suggest that you use a half water/half Lexol solution and just wipe your drum with a soft rag that's been soaked in it and then wrung out. Most of you will never have to do this. It only seems to be at all necessary if you are in a very dry climate and then only every couple of years. If done too often, it can soften the hide too much.

Drumming: We like to open a relationship with each drum we play before we use it. Holding it against your heart, as we mentioned above, and just melding with its energy is a good start. Also, rubbing your hand across its face in whatever way feels best to you (clockwise, counter-clockwise, outside to inside, inside to out, etc.) is a good way to warm your drum up and get to know it. When you feel you and the drum are ready, just begin. That is the beauty of a frame drum. You really can't do anything wrong. So you think you can't carry a beat or don't know anything about drumming. You might find out that as you allow yourself to meld and melt into the energy of the drum, it will help you to play the most heartfelt and spontaneous of beats.

If you are playing with a group, after you have melded with your drum then allow yourself to meld with the group energy. Listen with your heart and then begin to play. There's nothing less powerful about playing softly. If you're feeling timid, that's OK. Just let go and let your body/Soul do the “talking.” Drumming is one of the most wonderful ways to create community. Humanity has been doing this from the beginning. Let yourself remember. And most of all have fun!

Journeying: Don't forget like we learned in the DrumMaking and Journeying Workshop, you too can play the journeying beat for your friends, your family and even for yourself. Start with the walking beat ~ slow even rhythm. It settles you down and gets you ready for the journeying beat. Then move to the Journeying beat ~ much faster beat with no syncopation. Play as long as you like, until you're done or whatever specified amount of time you all have agreed upon. Remember the arm movements that you used at the end of each journey? Spread your arms out at shoulder level and then bring your hands together at your heart as if you are embracing the information you received and owning it for yourself, thus, owning your journey. You can ask people that you are drumming for to use that movement when they are complete so you will know when everyone has finished. As far as playing the journeying beat for yourself, this comes with a bit of practice. You literally forget that you are playing and just get into the journey. Don't forget the callback. It is the very loud, very quick wake up beat that you heard when we were done with our journeys. I play a 7 beat callback. But I have heard others do different styles. The intent is to bring you back to present time/space. I believe no matter how the call back is played it is meant to sound pretty obnoxious. It startles you out of your journey. If you are not comfortable with playing for yourself, you can always buy Journeying tapes or CD's but they never sound as good as the real thing. Here's a good one from the Master himself, Michael Harner Just remember, if you open to all possibilities, the results can be limitless.

Building your own drums: If you are confident enough to build drums on your own or are interested in purchasing rawhide, frames, leather, fur and much , much more, we suggest that you check out the people whom we buy our supplies from. Go to They are located in Centralia, WA. They are true angels walking on The Mother! If you get the chance, go visit their shop.

Drumming Circles: We are planning on having a drumming circle here at the house each month. We will send you an email reminder a few days before each drumming. Our main goal for the Drumming Circle is to provide an opportunity for people to create community and play their drums. Each drumming circle will last approximately 1 ½ hours with a potluck after. We will have a donation bowl out to help us to provide the space. But your donation is optional. Join our community of drummers for communion, fun and good food.

And then there is the Mother of all drumming events in the Charlotte area. drumSTRONG!!!!!! Check out It’s a marathon drum circle facilitated by some of the best leaders in the country. Each year we drum at least one hour longer than the previous year. 29 hours in 2011!!! It is to raise money for cancer research and awareness. It is wonderful energy and a great experience.

If you have any questions or comments about this information, please contact us at

May the heartbeat of The Mother fill you with joy!

...and the beat goes on…
Devan & Dave

If you're waiting for the ascension, you're missing out on the opportunity to create Heaven on Earth now! ~ Devan

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