A place for teachers to discuss issues to do with teaching
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By Carl
#5451
As I mentioned in my previous post, I always have everyone play dununs for any piece that we play in class. One of the nice things is that in most cases, at least one part (usually, but not always the kenkeni) is easy enough for the rawest beginner of the group, and at least one other part is a reasonable challenge for the better players.

The big down side here is that most beginner students do not have dununs to practice at home!

One of my not too hidden goals of teaching is to turn everyone on to the dununs, it's where all of the action is!

Anyway, what has been your experience with dununs? when did you start playing? Did you play djembe for a long time before you added dunun practice?

Personally, I only learned about dununs after about a year of djembe playing (maybe less) and my first experiences were in learning from transcriptions online (let's hear it for Djembe-L rhythm catalog via Larry Morris? I think?) Needless to say I had to start re-learning dunun parts in the years following. :-)

Furthur discussion?
C
User avatar
By Dennis103
#5456
I started playing douns in my 2nd year, playing sangban+doundounba+bell, for the beginner classes. This had its own problems. What I wanted to say here about practice, is that I took an old cushion, stood it upright on a chair and practiced on that. Obviously you can only practice stick technique and coordinating both hands, but that was more than sufficient to come back to the douns the next week and play my parts with full confidence, instead of fumbling. Many people my find it childish or degrading to start beating a cushion with a stick at home (haha, maybe people already do this for fun!!) but if you see what children play on in Africa, you 'get' the idea that you make do if you don't have a proper instrument... :D
By bubudi
#5553
you could stock some dunun to sell to students. consider making some cheaper versions out of wooden barrels, oil cans, buckets or pvc pipe. it's easy enough to do. either paint over the metal/plastic or cover with cloth.

i find when people learn and practice the dunun parts at home they get hooked, often to the point where they prefer dunun over djembe playing. in the meantime your students could use buckets at home until they have a dunun to practice on.
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By rachelnguyen
#5564
My teacher says that in Mali, you would traditionally learn the dun duns first, starting with the kenkeni and moving on to the sangban and dun dun.... In the mean time you'd be learning to rebuild and repair drums before you would finally start on the djembe.

In my case, I never touched a dun dun until I bought my djeli a few months ago. (Mine is, incidentally, a piece of galvanized drainage pipe with tanned goatskin heads. Would be pretty easy to make, I'd guess.)

As far as I can tell, the djeli parts are different from the rest of the dun duns... and since I don't own the bell yet, I am playing with just the one hand.

For me, the big challenge is going to be the two handed bit. I know I have to take it step by step and do it veeerrryyyy slowly at first, to get it. (Was like that when I took piano lessons, too.)

Is anyone else playing a djeli?
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By bops
#5602
I played dununs for a couple of years before starting on jembe, at least in a performance or dance class setting. I got hip to dununs through jembe, obviously, so I was learning jembe all the while. But my role in my teacher's group was dununfola until I built up my chops. Prior to that, I played drumset for 10 years so I picked up dunun pretty quickly.
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By Carl
#5659
bops wrote:I played dununs for a couple of years before starting on jembe, at least in a performance or dance class setting. I got hip to dununs through jembe, obviously, so I was learning jembe all the while. But my role in my teacher's group was dununfola until I built up my chops. Prior to that, I played drumset for 10 years so I picked up dunun pretty quickly.
After I had been playing dununs for a few years, my drumset playing style changed!

I used to play drumset fairly often with my brother in law. He was the one who first noticed the difference. All this was before I started actively applying dunun patterns to the drumset!

Anyway, I have a student right now who is a kit player, and the reversing of the roll of the hands used to drive him nuts! (right hand lead vrs. left hand lead)

C
By Paul
#5698
Hi Carl,,

I think the topic of knowing the dundun and doing solos are linked..

I sometimes teach the the dundun incorporated on to the djembe e.g. as found on Adama drames solo version of dundunba.. You could start with a rhythm like lecoolay where its possible to play alot of the the melody ballet style except play it on the djembe, some people doing this will help keep the dundun players in check and give everyone an understanding of the melody which is also the key to a nice solo..
Sorsonnet is another goodie, basically anything with a spacious dundun pattern...
User avatar
By Carl
#5700
Paul wrote:I think the topic of knowing the dundun and doing solos are linked..
Yes, I'd say critically so!
Carl wrote:I sometimes teach the the dundun incorporated on to the djembe e.g. as found on Adama drames solo version of dundunba.
Owch, touchy subject for me. Long story short, I went to a class where this guy taught the dunun parts AS the solo for a tune. His dunun parts were not that accurate to begin with! Add to that he said that he got it from Mamady! (Ok I'm not sure what he got from Mamady, but what he taught was not it!)

I realize that it can be done well, and like you said, it would emphasize the relationship between dununs and solo. However I prefer something like Garegadon where the solo places rolls in the space left by the dununba, or the beginning of Djansa where the soloist leaves the space and the dununs are the focus....

In the break for Kono II the djembes play the sangba/dununba parts as you described (bass for dununba / slap or slap flam for the sangba) which is a great demonstration of that kind of playing.

Ok, mostly a gut reaction to a badly taught class, but there you go... :oops:

C
User avatar
By e2c
#5709
I hear you on the reaction to a badly-taught class, but that doesn't mean that the basic idea is flawed. ;)

I like transferring dunun parts/melodies to djembe - just for fun, in playing for myself - and find that it helps a lot in understanding the placement of djembe parts, on an intuitive level. Am sure this will all give me some fuel for my own solos, as time goes on and I learn more.

There's no reason in the world to hold back just because that guy didn't know what he was doing.
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By bops
#5710
Carl wrote:Owch, touchy subject for me. Long story short, I went to a class where this guy taught the dunun parts AS the solo for a tune. His dunun parts were not that accurate to begin with! Add to that he said that he got it from Mamady! (Ok I'm not sure what he got from Mamady, but what he taught was not it!)
What was the rhythm? There can be different ways to play rhythms. Maybe what you perceived as inaccurate was just the way he learned it. Just playing devil's advocate here. We would need to know more details to determine if it was bogus or just different. :uglynerd:
Carl wrote:However I prefer something like Garegadon where the solo places rolls in the space left by the dununba, or the beginning of Djansa where the soloist leaves the space and the dununs are the focus....In the break for Kono II the djembes play the sangba/dununba parts as you described (bass for dununba / slap or slap flam for the sangba) which is a great demonstration of that kind of playing.
I'm getting lost here... you mean Garankedon? are you referring to a specific arrangement of Dansa? and Konowoulen? I'm not familiar with Kono (other than that it's the Malinke word for bird). Where did you learn it?
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By e2c
#5713
bops has some great points there... The way this music is played can vary a lot, from place to place, from teacher to teacher, from arrangement to arrangement. Mamady's way of playing the parts to various rhythms isn't the only legit way out there, by any means.
By bubudi
#5714
yep i can hear the exact part of the trad garangedon solo that carl is referring to, with the 2 rolls in the dununba gap. that's a nice way to complement the dunun, but it's nice to also hit certain dunun notes.

mamady teaches kono 1 and kono 2, both his own compositions and inspired by bird calls as the name suggests.
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By Carl
#5716
I don't want to get too into it as I'm not fond of bashing other teachers.

However, if you are going to teach something and put Mamady's name to it, then what you teach should match what Mamady taught to you. (the same goes for any teacher that you reference)

I have no problems teaching anything as solos, so long as you are clear about what is yours, and what you got from someone else. Mamady is very consistent in what he teaches, so when someone teaches something that they said they got from Mamady, I expect it to match what I learned from Mamady. (I have no problem with reasonable mistakes on my part or in another teacher, but this was beyond differences in interpretation)

There is much more to this particular situation than what I would like to get into on an online forum.

Sorry to leave you hanging...

C
User avatar
By Carl
#5717
bubudi wrote:mamady teaches kono 1 and kono 2, both his own compositions and inspired by bird calls as the name suggests.
Bubudi is correct, it was Kono 2 not Konowulen.

In general, if I forget to give references, you can assume that I learned it from Mamady. (feel free to ask if I forget to mention, I often post from work and might be typing faster than I'm thinking) :)

In the case of Kono 2 I actually learned it from Mahiri.

The Djansa techniques I was talking about were from Mamady, I know a different solo from Moussa, but the overall feel is similar enough to work for the discussion above.