Hi Carl, welcome back. When I started you dropped out. More and more of the old guys dropped out from active participation. But lately josh and the kid got back.
I remember you are interested in the theory of the music as well. Since I do remember my own discussions best I can hint you to the threads Readings on African Music, Trying to understand Yankadi, and my discussions with the ternarizator. In fact you might be a match for him since sometimes I get lost due to his abundance of knowledge from other musical cultures that I simply don't know about and find it difficult to cope with.
I am looking forward to fresh discussions and a revitalized forum for I am back to a situation where I want to involve more, too, due to my plans for starting to write a book or rather couple of them on teaching and learning djembe music.
djembefeeling wrote:I am looking forward to fresh discussions and a revitalized forum for I am back to a situation where I want to involve more, too, due to my plans for starting to write a book or rather couple of them on teaching and learning djembe music.
Can you please clue us in? I, for one, would be seriously interested!
Of course, I'll be happy to. I think I already wrote in my introduction many years ago that I will write a book on African drumming, how it works and why it feels so good. I still want to do that but that will be a very strenuous thing to do and though I have a much better understanding than back then and found my own point of perspective, I sort of hesitate starting. My best guess is that I will learn so much thinking the stuff seriously through and browsing through the music for actual proof that I have to start again when I am done It's sort of intimidating.
But my focus these last years was on teaching. I did encourage some of my students to start teaching djembe. One of them started successfully and confronts me with problems she has teaching certain patterns or students (which doesn't mean she's not doing great - she is!). By coincidence, my new class started at around the same time hers did. To think about someone others teaching problems, however, is much more structured and conscious than to think about my own. At the same time, I do reflect all of my teachings of teaching in my own new class and all of a sudden I am almost drowning in new ideas for better teaching. To put it in the words of old MacDonald - this is so very very amazing!
Basic to this kind of teaching is modular learning, where the student learns how to rearrange some basic patterns by him/herself. I teach such patterns of three different sizes:
1. one beat patterns, to my surprise really something Paul always asked for when he called them rudiments for djembe. In fact, the idea more or less developed from drum set. Uli Moritz in Berlin developed that stuff for body percussion, where you accompany the pattern with a fitting word, like banana for o/o.o. I transferred the idea to djembe and I can say it is so very very amazing how quickly my new students can play stuff that usually takes much longer. On this level, I do teach base and tone only. It has the great advantage of having the students focus on the rhythm more than on the sounds. At the same time, I regularly focus on a good technique for the tone, something African drummers constantly miss in our playing. Anyway, you can see a video of me teaching that style for the first time to my advanced students. Sorry guys, we speak German. But you will get the idea.
2. two beat patterns, like most of the accompaniments. This is more African style. I sort of drill my people to constantly recombine those in a call and response structure. To move into another call they have to play an interface in the sense of Rainer Polak. Of course I also developed a modular system for interfaces (calls/breaks however you call them) that I do not teach on that level but draw my interfaces from.
3. solo ideas over a couple of measures that sound so very very awesome, of course, that have a little arc of suspense and can stand for themselves. They can be combined with other solo modules with interfaces, which on this level I do systematically teach with the modular system.
I guess these three levels will come in three books that will build on each other. Is your curiosity satisfied now? Sorry Carl for thread hijack...
Last edited by djembefeeling on Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
djembefeeling wrote:Of course, I'll be happy to. I think I already wrote in my introduction many years ago that I will write a book on African drumming, how it works and why it feels so good.
I'd love to read that book.
djembefeeling wrote:I still want to do that but that will be a very strenuous thing to do and though I have a much better understanding than back then and found my own point of perspective, I sort of hesitate starting. . . It's sort of intimidating
That's understandable. African drumming and why it feels so good covers a lot of ground. Only recently has serious research been begun on such topics, and any published works on the results are hard to find.
Much has been written on the therapeutic benefits of drumming, but most of it in such broad strokes that I find it almost meaningless.
djembefeeling wrote:My best guess is that I will learn so much thinking the stuff seriously through and browsing through the music for actual proof that I have to start again when I am done
Yes. Explaining what is understood at gut level is a learning process and often results in epiphanies.
I feel exactly the same about these therapeutic writings, meaningless words that can cover everything and nothing.
As for the understanding at gut level, I think it is not really gut knowledge with me. It's rather that I do have a couple of hypotheses and ideas that I will have to show in the actual playing of folas and the material out there. Painstaking work in listening, transcribing, analyzing etc. For tons of material and countless hours. In the end it could be that some of my most favorite ideas turn out to be bullshit. Or perhaps fall short of the biggest picture.