‘Can you play your drums quietly, please?’

I admit it.  Another example of a spur of the moment rhetorical question that’s met with a bemused reaction.  Only this time there’s a pause and then a period of conversing which sparks a drum and bass focused maker project.

And the question to explore?  The one that I asked initially, really…..and a quick follow up:

  1. Is it ever possible to play drums quietly?
  2. Could it be possible with a hack or by making the kit and/or the drumsticks?

Initial thoughts: Not a Cardboard project!

All part of the problem solving and planning and eventually with a solution to explore using the Summer term’s craze with pom-pom making.

An e-textiles percussion conundrum with a solution eventually built up in just a small number of (not so silent) steps:


Step 1: Traditional Pom Pom making


Step 2: Add Conductive Yarn into the spin


Step 3: Attach some Dowel Rod and Hey Presto

Is quiet ‘quiet’ or can quiet actually become silence?

At this point the project skewed and focused on the softer side of pom-pom creation and the minimal noise level possible when playing the drums.


Step 4: Drumsticks ready, kit to play?

The intention was always to use a Touchboard to drum up the sound outputs and make the circuit connections through electric paint and conductive yarn.

Launched by connecting the drumsticks to a 2D painted drumkit, the actual drumming movements could be quiet but the whole performance could also then be silent to a nearby audience if headphones were introduced.


Step 5: Ready to rock?

Did it work?

Well yes, wool touching paint on paper can be very quiet indeed.  Particularly as the performer wears headphones!

But audience participation, review and opportunities for air drumming collaborations?

Sadly lacking something.  Substantial noise levels fitting of needing earplugs?


Tinkering to respond to a Tom Gates book

The opportunity to bring in sounds from the outdoors and rock compositions through a doodled book review.  That’s one idea in response to the traits and characteristics from a favourite fictional character during the week of World Book Day.

Opportunities to trigger by tinkering with electric paint don’t happen very often as a homework activity, but occasionally when your teacher uses a Touchboard from the Bare Conductive team already.