Nodrog wrote:To me, I think being taught a solo is good and useful to a degree. It might help technique and get you into areas you might not discover alone. However, this would be just another color or another type of paintbrush used to achieve one's own painting.( With lots of practice I guess).
There is a place for possible confusion here...
Usually when a Master teacher is teaching a djembe solo, they are teaching what would be called a "traditional" solo. These solos serve a function beyond their musical existence. Specifically, they are intended to go with specific dance steps. This is one of the way's that you help someone learn the "language" of the song.
When you are improvising in a djembe/dunun group, you might play the traditional solo (if you are working with dancers you most likely WILL be working from the traditional solo). Or you might make something original up. (especially if you are NOT working with dancers...)
One way to think of it is to relate it to Jazz. The traditional solo would be the melody of the jazz tune (the head). Beginners might play minor variations on the melody as their solo, the more advanced the players, the more complicated the relationship the solo has to the original melody.
Unfortunately we usually use the term solo indiscriminately when referring to the melody that the djembe soloist plays. Most teachers that I've worked with have no problem with people "making their own stuff up". The danger comes when someone starts saying that "this is THE solo to song X".
From my perspective as a non-African teacher: I am very clear when I am teaching a traditional solo and when I am teaching a solo that I wrote (or someone else wrote) and when I am teaching how to improvise. Each of these can be called Solos or Soloing, yet they each have their own separate contexts.
Hope I didn't muddy the waters.