kostadjembe wrote:So how is it possible for someone like me and many others to change our life in such a way so we can get this Certificate? At the moment I am finishing my Bachelor of Nursing externally, full time and I don’t think is as hard as the TTM Certificate…seriously! How many hours of studying and playing are required to nail all these rhythms? The amount of money you need to spend on lessons, materials and trips…
It's a big commitment. For one, you need attend one of Mamady's camps in Guinea. For someone from Australia, that's an $8,000 exercise.
You also need to see Mamady in person. Obviously, you could do that by attending his Guinea camp, or you could come to San Diego in June (hint, hint
) and attend Mamady's and Famoudou's camp
. That way, you would meet Mamady and get his opinion on your playing skill, technique, and whether he thinks you would be ready to study for this.
Depending on the skill level you are at when you start, I'd say the minimum time to learn everything for the certificate is one year. But that really would be cramming it in. You need to learn the twelve solos. That's not too hard if you work on them regularly. The harder part is to memorize the 60 rhythms, being able to play every part and to regurgitate the cultural info for each rhythm. You also have to play the parts with the correct feel. In turn, that involves a lot of listening and research.
Also, the point is hardly to cram in the 60 rhythms. You should know the rhythms in the sense of being able to play them instantly and being able to sing the dundun melody, for example. In other words, ideally, "knowing" means to know a rhythm deeply, like you know a children's song, not knowing it in the sense of being able to dredge up each part after thinking hard about it. This requires time. Ideally, you would have played each rhythm for an extended period.
One way to learn these rhythms is to learn them yourself and then go and teach them. We typically spend 4-5 weeks on a rhythm in our classes and, having taught a rhythm for that length of time, I find that it is truly bedded down. We teach three classes a week, with a different rhythm for each class, so that's 3 rhythms every five weeks, or about 25-28 rhythms a year. That's a good way to keep making progress at a decent rate.
My biggest issue is what s happening after your certificate. How is this going to help you in meeting the TTM requirements? No one can guarantee stable income, or students or gigs. Saying that, you will become a better musician and teacher, you will enrich your knowledge of the traditions and culture…but do I need to do it under Mamady’s rules?
Once you have the certificate, Mamady wants you to use
it, not hang it on your wall and do nothing more with it. With the certificate, you can call yourself a TTM certified teacher and use the TTM logo to promote your classes. In return, you are expected to actually do that, teaching the TTM program (rhythms and Mamady's techniques). I don't think you are expected to do this exclusively though. I believe you are also free to teach other rhythms or variations of the same rhythms that Mamady teaches. But Mamady wants you to both further the cause of TTM and to act as an ambassador for the Mandingue culture.
Once you have the certificate, you also have to commit to ongoing education by attending the workshop that follows the biannual TTM conference at least once every three years. If you don't do that, you lose the certificate again. So, getting the certificate really only makes sense if, after that, you are prepared to keep teaching and attending Mamady's workshops to keep learning. The certificate really isn't the goal, but the start along the path to something bigger. If you like, in some ways, the certificate is like just finishing your apprenticeship, and you are expected to become a journeyman after that. (If you get the certificate, I imagine that the first thing Mamady will tell you is that you now have to start working towards the diploma…)
Like Michi said for us here down under its really hard because there aren’t any certified teachers. Classes are not on an advanced level and privates are unfordable! So we have to rely on self drive and patience. I have set my goal to get the TTM in the next 15 years…Four rhythms a year! That’s doesn’t sound that bad! I will only be 47…
Whether you end up with the certificate eventually or not doesn't really matter. What matters is what you do along the path. If you work towards the certificate, you will become a better musician and get a better understanding of Mandingue culture. That in itself is worthwhile, certificate or no certificate.
And, yes, getting the certificate requires a big commitment in terms of time, effort, and money, especially if you live in Australia. I guess anyone Down Under who gets the certificate definitely has proven that they really mean it…