Instrument Spotlight: The Ocean Drum

Summer is such a fun time in our music therapy sessions! There are so many great session ideas to explore: the beach, travel, the sun, ocean animals, and more. My favorite part is that I get to use the Ocean Drum more than I do during the school year.

What exactly is an ocean drum? It’s a hand drum that’s sealed in with little beads inside of it. When it’s tilted from side to side, the beads roll to make a sound like ocean waves.

We really like the REMO ocean drum. You can buy it here. (Note, this is not an affiliate link. We just really like Amazon!)

Now why is this our favorite? It’s FANTASTIC to work on impulse control. You can feel the beads move when you tilt the drum, so it provides sensory input. Talk about a hands on example of cause and effect!Plus, some of our kiddos alternate between waves and thunderstorms depending on how they move the drum. When they shake it vigorously up and down, it sounds more like thunder than the calm soothing rain.

One of my favorite relaxation exercises uses the ocean drum. I’ll have the client lie down on their back, and hold the drum about arms length away over their head. We’ll turn the lights off, turn on meditation-esque music, and hold a flashlight behind the drum. While we tilt the drum back and forth, we ask the client about what they see. What do they see? How many fish are there? What colors are they? All of these questions allow the client to work towards their goals while they get a chance to relax.

Photo by Fabian Wiktor on

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