A very special thanks to Kalani Das for contributing this article - The development of the FLEX drum began in the early 2000's, when I was developing a fitness drumming program at my local gym. I came to realize that I needed a way to store and transport multiple drums without taking up a lot of space or breaking my back in the process. Because I was having my fitness drumming students lift and carry their drums, they also needed to be lightweight. I had to re-think drum design and the concept of a stackable drum was born. The FLEX drum combines the shape of the Ashiko or Brazilian Timbau (pronounced chim-BAU).
Over the past 10 years, I worked with Toca percussion to develop this new concept and we eventually used a super-light PVC shell and head. The result is a drum that weighs under five pounds and can be stacked up to six high to make them easy to store and carry. The drums are not as loud as their traditional counterparts, making them perfect for indoor use. As an added bonus, the heads can be used as a hand drum and the shells can be used as props. Small percussion can also be stored and transported inside the drums. FLEX drums reduce storage needs by up to 70% and are about 70% lighter than traditional drums, making them the lightest full-size drums on the market. The heads are super durable and can be cleaned and replaced if needed.
Throughout my career as a percussionist, music educator, and music therapist, I have been fortunate to learn from many presenters and teachers in a wide range of fields. Like most of us, I adapt what I learn to fit my personal style and needs. My new DVD, Drum Fun, was born from these experiences. For example, I learned one game as a vocal experience and have translated it into an instrumental experience for Drum Fun. In this game, called Ships in the Night, participants close their eyes and are guided by the sounds of unique instruments as their partners help keep them from bumping into other ships traveling through the same waters. Musical games offer a myriad of opportunities for collaboration, learning, processing, and socializing. Games range from the very simple to more challenging and include movement, vocalizing, and instrumental play. Each activity is presented from the very beginning so viewers can see the entire process (instructions and the experience). This collection has already become a top-seller and I imagine that it will spark vast creativity when placed in the hands of the many talented teachers, therapists, and recreational music facilitators in our growing community.