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Putting on a West African Drumming Workshop

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:34 pm
by ryanlikealion
A friend has asked me to put on a rhythm workshop at her school and it is going to be based on African Rhythms.

I have decided i want to do it on West African rhythms. I do not find gathering information, or drumming very difficult but the thought of delivering a workshop to 30 students is quite daunting.

Can anyone give me any help on delivering a workshop (equipment will be provided by the school) - as in 'how do i get 30 people started????'

A way of getting everyone playing together

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 8:40 pm
by ryanlikealion
The main thing i am looking for is an example of a simple west african rhythm, which can be disected for everyone to aim at being able to play together. Does this make sense????

I am familiar with alot of west african drum beats and can play them on my djembe alone but it is a different ball game when it comes to finding a rhythm that i can disect!

quick question

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:23 am
by James
Hey Ryan, I'm not entirely sure what you're asking.

There are a lot of traditional rhythms that could be disected for everyone to play together. You mention you are familiar with a lot a west african drum beats, do you mean traditional rhythms, or kit grooves (I only ask because you mention you are primarily a kit drummer).

Traditional rhythms would generally not be played on 1 djembe alone, but with at least 1 dun dun and perhaps a couple other djembes. Sorry if you know all this already, I'm just trying to figure out where you're coming from.

Have you ever learnt from a djembe teacher or are you self taught from your kit background?

James :)


Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:28 pm
by ryanlikealion
Sorry - i was going mad with the research last night and looking for answers as to how i can deliver this workshop.

The reason i am struggling is because there was a communication botch up - someone told me they wanted me to do a samba workshop then changed it at the last minute to a west african work shop.

I know little about the seperate parts of west african rhtyhms and really need to hear some, and see notation of a full rhythm. My only experience of 'african' drumming is (as you asked) teaching myself the djembe from my knowledge of playing kit drums.

Basically i have been put in a position of teaching som kids how to do something im not entirely sure about my self. I really want to learn some west african rhythms but finding out were to start is difficult.

Anyway im ranting on now and im going to shut up!!!


Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:13 pm
by ryanlikealion
Sorry for all the pestering.

I found all the information i needed at, which i found through the links on this site so thanks!

Keep drumming



Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:32 pm
by James
Hey Ryan, I'm glad you found what you were looking for.

If you're going to be teaching these rhythms more than this once off, you may consider looking for a teacher, who has learnt these rhythms from the source as opposed to the books and tabs etc.

We've been discussing recently that you can't really have a proper feel for a lot of this music unless you actually hear it because tabbing it often only brings one a close approximation.

Also, it is extremely important to teach the proper cultural context behind the particular rhythm you are teaching because this music, means a more than a lot to the people who it comes from.

Good luck
James :)