Marc_M wrote:I've found it very frustrating that every djembe teacher I've ever had (at least five) told me to change my technique and have given different (sometime erroneous) advice - everything from extending fingers to "whip actions" to striking the rim with the fleshy part of the hand and having the fingers "curl" into the head. In the end, focusing on any of these didn't really seem to matter.
It's not all that surprising that different teachers would explain technique differently. They might each have a slightly different technique, and they might all be correct. There isn't a "right" way to make a good sound on the jembe. Listen to what each of them has to say... and take it with as many grains of salt as you wish.
The longer you've been playing jembe, the harder it is to explain how to make a tone and slap. That's because, at some point, you stop thinking about it altogether and just do it. It's a matter of developing "muscle memory" - just like walking and talking. Try explaining how to walk, and you'll find that there's a lot more to it than you can express verbally.
When a master drummer like Famoudou or Mamady Keita explains how to make a slap, they're not telling you how they
do it. They're telling you how to get started. From there, you have to... well, you know...
...its practice, practice and more practice after that.
"If you knock long enough, eventually the door will open."
Tasumakan - Djembe and Dunun Video Lessons