West African Drumming

Ref: C2521476

Drummed Up has been running for many years and includes some experienced players as well as welcoming new players. A wide range of material will be taught to challenge learners of all levels. The music will always include simpler and more complex parts to accommodate everyone. The group perform at local events are encouraged to participate when they feel ready.

Course aim

To enable learners to play traditional drumming rhythms from West Africa and to join in with performances.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

This course will introduce a traditional rhythm piece from Guinea or Mali . This consists of an introduction, djembe accompaniments, solo phrases and bass drum patterns. Students will have the opportunity to play bass drums as well as djembe. Solo phrases will be adapted to suit everyone and all students will gain practical experience of playing in a drumming ensemble. Other rhythms will be introduced and revised from previous courses which will reinforce learning and create new learning opportunities. The course will create opportunities for learners to play ‘calls' – effectively to lead the group and provide extra challenge. The focus is ensemble playing – playing together and including everyone.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

Play the djembe safely. Identify and play the 3 basic strokes on the djembe. Play a number of accompaniment djembe patterns. Play a number of djembe phrases Identify with basic musical concepts such as ‘the beat', ‘off-beat' and time signatures. Play several bass drum and bell parts for the taught rhythm. Play basic accompaniments or simple bass drum parts to enable learners to join in with performances.

How will I know I'm making progress?

There will be ongoing formative assessment - observation, question and answer, demonstration of material in small groups and/or individually. The goal is for the group to play a rhythm comprising several parts together and learners will have the opportunity to learn a lot of different rhythm parts - working with other learners sometimes doubling up on a part until the learner is confident. I will assist and support learners to play parts correctly and provide intermediate stages so that all learners can assess their own level as well as receive feedback from me. Its a very friendly and supportive group!!

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

All drums and equipment are provided.

Reading and information sources

Learners are invited to read my blog http://marksdjembeblog.wordpress.com/ which gives a lot of information about many aspects of West African drumming and culture.

What could the course lead to?

I organise workshops taught by experienced teachers from W Africa and am in close contact with other teachers nationally and internationally about about events and study trips and learning opportunities. Many of my regular learners have attended such workshops and fifteen or more of my past and present learners have travelled to Africa to study drumming

Download full course outline

West African Drumming Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2015
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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