Drum Making Workshops:

The workshops are arranged for half-day presentations.  I have
worked with groups ranging from children’s programs, to
corporate and multicultural events.  The cost of the workshop is
$100.00 per person for a twelve inch drum and $150.00 per
person for a fourteen inch drum.  Each workshop will have one
size drum for all participants.  All tools, materials, and instructions
are supplied and included in the cost.

    Each participant will receive a
    drum frame made of cedar
    and deer-hide for the head of
    the drum.  Drum frames are
    made by myself in my
    workshop and the skins are
    collected with the Hats for
    Hides program.  

    The workshops are enriching
    for the participants because
    they make their own musical
    instrument and share in some
    of the traditional teachings
    about the drum.

The Ojibway traditions teach us that we use cedar because of its
benefits as a medicine.  The wood weathers very well and
contains a level of acidity that bugs do not like.  We use deer
because this is the area where deer are hunted and used for
food.  It is a local material that is utilized for practical purposes.

The drumbeat represents the heartbeat of the earth and is
expressed in our songs.  The songs are prayers and stories.  In
times like these we need to remember our cultural roots, whoever
we are.

Outline of the Session:

    The session will start with an
    introduction of myself and
    then I will sing a drum song or
    two and answer any question
    at any time.  I will talk about
    the drum and it’s uses in the
    community and for an
    individual.  How the drum is
    constructed will be reviewed
    then the participants will be
    taken step by step through the
    process and at the end of the
    workshop each person will
    have their own musical
    instrument.  The steps are as

  • Choosing a drum frame.
  • Measuring and cutting the hide for the head.
  • Measuring and punching the holes for the lacing to hold the
    head to the frame.
  • Cutting the lacing for the drum.
  • Lacing the head to the frame of the drum.
  • Finishing the back and belting the edge of the head.
  • A lesson in how to care for the drum.
  • Learning a drum song.

This workshop can accommodate fifteen to twenty people.
Custom workshops based on different Canadian Aboriginal history.
Make your own
drum or host a
party and make
drums with your
friends or group.
John demonstrating drum
making at Hillside Music
John helping a young festival goer make
a drum at Mariposa
Drum Making Workshop with some high school students at St. Paul's College, University of Waterloo