Raise a song, sound the tambourine!
— Psalm 81: 2 NRSV

This is one of the easiest ways to introduce Biblical drumming into a congregation's worship. Aim to accompany one or two hymns at first and then let the Spirit and congregational feedback be your guide.

In deciding what patter to play with a particular hymn, let go of first choosing a pattern beforehand and then fitting the pattern into the melody.

Begin instead by humming or singing the melody yourself a few times. Get a feel of the pulse and content of the hymn.  When ready, quietly add some tics. Let the melody speak to you and your drum.

Then you might feel like adding a Ctt as you hum or sing the melody. If the metre of the hymn is 4/4, try beginning with, for example, CtCt.

Add to those core patterns as you feel it fits. Maybe, for example, you play Ctt Ctt Ct, a pattern you know well and can play confidently. You might think about a change of this pattern for the refrain or for only part of the pattern you use in some verses.

Keep the pattern simple especially for the first couple of times. until you feel confident to add something like shakes, rolls, double times, etc.

Some suggested patterns  drum groups have used are shared below. Our sincere appreciation for discerning most of these patterns is extended to Judy McElroy of the Mark Street United Church drummers.  We are all grateful for your commitment, Judy,  your drumming abilities and your time spent on patterns now shared with everyone.

All drummers are warmly invited to share with us (see Contact Us) hymns you have drummed for and the patterns you used or discoveries you made that Sunday!  Or patterns you have used with some of these same hymns. 

Ma Gaia Frame Drummers working to reclaim the  ancient hymns of Cyprus. Take a look and listen to how well they play a simple pattern and how effective it is at http://www.myspace.com/kyprogenea  

Ma Gaia Frame Drummers working to reclaim the  ancient hymns of Cyprus. Take a look and listen to how well they play a simple pattern and how effective it is at http://www.myspace.com/kyprogenea  

Accompanying Christmas Carols

With thanks and appreciation to Judy


1. Angels we Have Heard on High

D t T t t T t t



2. In the Bleak Midwinter

D t t C C t K t


3. God Rest Ye Merry

Rattlesnake #1 & 3: C t C t C C t t

D t D D t t T t


4. The First Noel: in ¾ time



5. Ding Dong Merrily on High

           D t T t T T t t


6. Away in a Manger: Tar? 3/4 time

D t t and/or D K taka


7. O Come All Ye Faithful (tar)

        Nubia: D K taka D taka K K taka


8. Silent Night: ¾ time

The 1st 6 beats of any pattern


9. Mary Had a Baby:

D T t t K t t K


Accompanying Hymns 

Voices United


     6  A Candle Is Burning

          Ctt & a shake at end

     7  Hope is a Star


 Verses Ctt

            Chorus: s s s s s s s s    at "strong:" very quietly            

    245  Praise the Lord                                   

                        D D takata D taka K taka

    282 Long Before the Night

             D t t C  C t K t

   352 I Danced in the Morning                        

  DtKt KK roll or shake shake

                         (refrain)  4 shakes DtKt KKtt

395 Come In, Come In                  

                                C t t

433 Day Is Done                                    

D t C t T T t t

508  Just as I Am                           

Dtt Ktt Dtt Ttt (begin with the word ‘as’)

567  Will You Come                                


                                 C t C t  C C t t

646  We Are Marching                                   

K t K t

648  Walk with Me                                  

 D K t t  K t K K

684  Make Me A Channel

                                   D T t t  T t T T

766 As the Deer Pants

  D T t t    K T t t

                                    K D t t   D T t t

                                   (refrain)     D K K K or T D K t

820  Make A Joyful Noise 

                                    D t t C   C t K t

958  Halle, halle, Halleluah

                          D T t t  D K t  t                                         


Other Worship Songs

Who Built the Ark        


                                 (refrain)       replies: roll t  roll t



Dry Bones               

K on rests/pauses

                                 s s s s at end of verse


C t C t C C t t

                                  at "O Lord," s s s s


More Voices

1  Let Us Build

C t C t   C C t t

D t D  D t t T t

shakes between verses

30  It’s a Song of Praise                                            


D t K t   K K t t

42 Praise God for This Holy Ground

Verse:        D t t K t t K t   x2

 Refrain:     D K shake shake   x5

Between refrain and verse: shakes

142 Oh, a song must rise  

Balladi (beginning on 'rise')

156 Dance with the Spirit

K D T t   K D tttt

your own helping hand.jpg

173 Put Peace Into Each Other's Hands

Ctt   to bars 8/9, then very quiet, gentle shakes

Ctt   again  until the last two bars with very gentle shakes again

188  I thank you, thank you, Jesus

D T t t   K t t K

191  What can I do

K t D t  or any stroke you like with a t after each stroke

213 Take Up His Song                           

D t t C  C t K t