Use the Drum Jam Ice Breaker to Wake Up Your Class

Drum Up Some Energy

Drumming - Image Source - GettyImages-72211486
Image Source - GettyImages-72211486

The ancient art of drumming can be a fun and easy way to wake up your class or review material. Start with a few rhythm exercises and then let the jamming begin.

To use Drum Jam for test prep, create gaps in the rhythm during which students shout out word associations or answers to questions. Be creative. Or just let your students lead the way. Once the drumming gets rid of the nerves, ideas can flow.

Ideal Size

This is best in groups of 10-12, but could work in groups of up to 30.

Use For

Waking people up after lunch or anytime the sleepies are setting in.

Time Needed

10 minutes is ideal.

Materials Needed

None. We'll be drumming with our hands on the desks, chairs, whatever is available.


Start your group by practicing a few rhythms. Tap a simple beat, repeatedly, and have the class follow you. A 3- or 4-beat measure works best.

If you happen to have a real drummer in your classroom, you're in luck! Ask him or her to get you started. You might also ask if anyone in your class has participated in a drum circle. This exercise is the same kind of thing. If you don't have anyone with experience, you can do it yourself.

When you're ready, start with a simple beat. The next person adds something different to your beat, and so on around the room. Encourage creativity, fun, syncopation, and a mixture of techniques.

You might start with a slower beat to practice and then pick it up.

Some options to explore:

  • Tapping with fingers only.
  • Slapping with whole palm.
  • Tapping with finger nails only.
  • Knocking with knuckles.
  • Banging with soft side of fist.
  • Three quick taps in one beat.
  • Pausing a beat.


Start with two finger taps on your right hand and a knock with your left knuckles.

Tap, tap, knock. Tap, tap, knock. The next person adds a bang, pause, slap. Bang, pause, slap. And the next, slap, tap-tap-tap, bang.


If the exercise gets out of control or rhythm, simply stop and start again. It takes a little practice.

See our ice breaker collections for more ideas:


If desired, talk about cooperation and team work, listening and responding, creativity and rhythm.

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Your Citation
Peterson, Deb. "Use the Drum Jam Ice Breaker to Wake Up Your Class." ThoughtCo, Feb. 4, 2017, Peterson, Deb. (2017, February 4). Use the Drum Jam Ice Breaker to Wake Up Your Class. Retrieved from Peterson, Deb. "Use the Drum Jam Ice Breaker to Wake Up Your Class." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 21, 2017).