Our family has been making tongue drums for over 40 years. Michael Thiele built his first instrument for his wife Laura, a modern dancer. It was inspired by a small Redwood “slit drum,” part of a collection of unique percussion instruments Laura used in her children’s creative dance classes. The little drum had been dropped by one of the children and Michael, a woodworker and cabinet-maker at the time, set out to replace it. He built the new drum entirely out of Oak - “to make it stronger.” The real surprise was in the bold crisp sound it produced - very different from its Redwood counterpart! 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.


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 and Laura, Sarah, and Zander make up the rest of the team. 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.



Michael and Laura Thiele


Michael & Laura Thiele

Zander, Sarah, and Joah Thiele
Zander and Sarah Thiele
Zander, Sarah, and Joah Thiele


Joah, Sarah, and Zander Thiele