An Introduction to African Drumming on the Djembe Drum

198 TUTOR: Graeme Goodwin

On this course you will be in touch with the roots of modern music with an energetic combination of roots rhythm along with narrative and educational workshop guidance. You will learn where our modern-day popular music comes from and actually play and experience the essence of music - the tempo, the rhythm and the melodies. Upon completion of the Introduction to African Drumming course you will gain a greater understanding of the fundamental aspects of music and will be able to identify these when listening to any genre of pop & rock music. More importantly, you will be able to join any drumming workshop and play your djembe with good technique and rhythm awareness.


2 AM
AM course

Course Notes

The course will be based on the main fundamentals of Djembe drumming:


Each day the lesson will begin with warm up exercises working on count, hand position and sound. Throughout the week exercises will increase in difficulty creating higher challenges for the student resulting in stronger playing ability and stamina for performance.

Along with this 'call & answer' rhythms will be introduced with the master drummer calling rhythms for the group to respond to, as these rhythms get learnt the master drummer responsibility will be passed around the group to increase confidence in performing.

Rhythms (Singing & Playing):

With the belief that if you can sing it you can play it a short amount of time will be spent singing each new rhythm to help encourage confidence with playing and learning new rhythms. As the group's ability to play more complex rhythms increases, more than one rhythm will be played simultaneously creating polyrhythms. It will be discussed with the group at how the rhythms integrate with each other and how some rhythms work better together more than others.

All rhythms learnt will be in 4/4 or 6/8 time, the group will be made aware of the difference in count, sound and feel between common time and compound time. It also will be explained how 6/8 time is known as 'roots' for djembe drumming.


Each set of rhythms have a unique history. Whether being used for a festival, wedding or harvest the purpose of the rhythms will be explained along with its origins and how it can even be heard in contemporary music today. The main tribes discussed will be the Mandinka tribe from West Africa and the Nyabinghi tribe from East Africa.

Playing along:

During each lesson students will play along to songs reinforcing their ability to play pulse and rhythm demonstrating how African rhythms can be combined with commonly known songs and performed with a group or on their own.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM