West African Drumming

Ref: C2523369

Drumming is exciting, fun and challenging. This is a great opportunity to play music in a group. We will look at a rhythm piece from West Africa played on djembes (hand drums) and dunun (bass drums using sticks). Rhythm pieces include simple accompaniments, different dunun and bell parts and variations, breaks and djembe solo phrases. Beginners are welcome but the group will also include experienced players and material will be accessible and challenging for players of all levels. Separate drumming courses for beginners are planned too. There will be opportunities to play at public events once you have learned the basics.

Course aim

To learn to play traditional rhythm pieces from West Africa on a range of drums and percussion instruments

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • play bass tone and slap on the djembe
  • play bass drum and bell parts
  • play djembe accompaniments
  • play djembe solo phrases
  • know the cultural background of the rhythm piece

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • I am developing a video platform which enables learners to learn from each other and learn at home.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • Learners will be encouraged to record and upload short video clips once they know a particular part and to see clips uploaded by other learners.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • I bring all the drums required for the class but if you have your own djembe you can bring it. There are lots of online resources to aid your own learning and understanding but this is not required to participate in the class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Learners might like to consult my blog :http://marksdjembeblog.wordpress.com/ which gives a good introduction to the material I teach and also lots of photos from my trips to West Africa.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next

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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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