The HMC Tradition

Our family has been making tongue drums for over 40 years. Michael Thiele built his first instrument for his wife Laura, a dance instructor at Verde Valley Arts Academy. In those days, Laura collected unique instruments to use in her classes. When one of her prized instruments, a slit drum, was dropped by a student and broken, Michael set out to replace it. Curiosity took over, and through trial and error Michael spent the years that followed teaching himself how to tune wood and learning what made one wood more musical than another and how to build a “better box.”

Over the years, there have been dozens of models, hundreds of tunings, failed attempts, and incredible successes. But all in all, it was a simple thing that brought Hardwood Music to life, and it’s been a simple thing that’s kept us here all these years later. That simple thing is music. 

Now a family effort, Michael and Joah are the designer/builders of Hardwood Music instruments. Laura, Sarah, and Zander keep the rest of it together. And while there are a variety of contributions that are offered by each member of our family, we all share a profound love of music, appreciation for nature, and passion for wood.