This is a story about two brothers and what they learned from their grandfather.
It was a hot summer day. My grandfather was visiting us from the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. My brother and I asked him what he liked to do when he was a boy. “Well, when I was a boy,” said Gramps, “we used to make steel drums.”
“Can Colin and I make steel drums, too?” I asked.
“Well, we can make what sounds like a steel drum,” said Gramps. “We’ll need different sizes of tin cans, unsharpened pencils, a hammer, colored tape, fabric, construction paper and permanent markers.”
Once Colin and I got the materials together, we began to make the drum. First, Gramps told us to draw a straight line on the bottom of the can with the permanent marker. “Draw the line a little off to the side. Try not to put it through the middle,” explained Gramps.
Next he told us to use a hammer along the line we drew and listen carefully. “It sounds different when I hammer in different places,” I said. “That’s the can stretching. It changes the pitch,” Gramps replied. “Be careful not to hit too hard with the hammer or you will put a hole in the drum.”
Then we used the tape, fabric, construction paper and markers to decorate our cans. Colin’s was very colorful. I only used red, black and white, the colors of the flag of Trinidad.
Finally, it was time to drum! Gramps told us to use the eraser at the end of the unsharpened pencil as a drumstick. The steel drums sounded so cool!
We spent most of the summer practicing together. I still have one of the steel drums today. I play it every once in a while, and it reminds me of Gramps. I sure do miss him a lot.
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the story:
What materials did the brothers need to make the steel drums?
What is the first thing Gramps told the brothers to do once they had the materials they needed?
Can you describe how they made the steel drums?
What did the brothers use for drum sticks?