Carol Of The Buckets

arr. Paul Jennings

This melody is best known to most people as Katherine Davis' "The Little Drummer Boy," made famous in the 1950s and 1960s. But the original melody was written maybe a century earlier in what was Czechoslovakia. Fortunately for us, the older version (no lyrics) is in the public domain, and is more commonly known as "Carol Of The Drum." However, with this wonderful orchestral arrangement, we've traded out the drums for buckets. And Boomwhackers®, rhythm sticks, a small shaker, and a small triangle. (Parts for all of these can be found on our web site.)

There are two bucket band parts – soprano and tenor. The soprano bucket part is the slightly easier of the two, featuring a small to medium coffee can or plastic container of similar size. The tenor bucket is the typical bucket band bucket, a roughly five gallon plastic bucket with a flat top, played upside down usually. In both cases, there are three places on the bucket to play it: on the top, like a drum; on the top rim; or on the sides. (These are marked in the margin of the score.) The rhythms are mostly quarter and eighth notes, that is, until measure 33. The bucket parts join with the grand animation of the orchestra with a more dynamic pattern, one that includes sixteenth notes. Players who love a challenge will really enjoy this. However, if it's too much, feel free to have them play the same rhythms as at measure 29 instead. Indeed, modifying rhythms any time is perfectly fine to do. Make it work for your players.

The Boomwhackers® line is fairly easy and a part of the accompaniment. If, however, you have some more advanced players, you could have them play the melody through most of the song. With one octave, C diatonic, you can play almost everything except bar 19 and the eight bars starting at 29. To play those, you will need a chromatic set. Or just rest.

One last thought – if you own some of our unique Noodle Kits™, you can use them with this work. Of course the rhythm sticks are obvious. But you can substitute the small shaker with Noodle Blocks, and substitute the small triangle with your Chime Plate and Bolt Striker. Keep this in mind as you prepare other works for classroom instruments, too. (Visit to learn more about Noodle Kits.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.