Music and culture

The Tamböa can be used to good effect in creative projects on a variety of historical and cultural subjects. Split drums originated among ancient tribes, namely those in Africa, Oceania and South America. In those cultures, the drums accompanied ceremonial song and dance. They were also used as tools of communication. This history can be used to develop the thematics of stimulative creation in which the child makes the links between culture and music.

The Tamböa and make-believe

The Tamböa is an instrument which is well suited to the accompaniment of stories, narratives and legends. It can be used to accompany oneself when telling a story, or children can be asked to provide the accompaniment, either allowing them to play freely or asking them to play only at specific moments. They could be asked, for example, to play each time they hear a certain word or each time a particular person is mentioned in the story.


Two children, or a teacher and a child, position themselves at either end of the Tamböa. You are only permitted to play the three notes directly in front of you. Start by each taking a turn at playing and then try to play together. This is a good activity for developing the skills of listening and communication.


Guided by the teacher, the children sing a rhythmic refrain or simply an ostinato while one child improvises on the Tamböa. Each child takes a turn at improvising.

A child improvises a rhythmic sequence on the Tamböa (set a maximum number of strokes and demonstrate an example) and the other children must reproduce the sequence by clapping their hands. Eventually, the children will be able to reproduce the sequence by singing it (thereby combining rhythm and melody).

Stop / Go

The teacher asks the children to dance when she plays the Tamböa and to become statues when she stops. Then she asks a child to take her place. The children can be asked to follow the tempo of the music when they dance.


It can be fun to record the children while they improvise on the Tamböa. They can then listen to themselves, which can be an entertaining and motivating exercise.

The orchestra conductor

Ask the children to play according to your directing. Modify your tone of voice to suit the nature of each direction. For example, speak very softly when you want them to play softly. Speak more loudly when you want them to play with vigour. Speak very slowly when you want them to play slowly, etcetera.

Drum and Tamböa
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