West African Drumming

Ref: C2523475

A short course to learn the basics of playing West African rhythms in a group. We will learn the basic sounds of the djembe (hand drum) and dunun (bass drums played with sticks). We will learn some common rhythm patterns and learn to play 1-2 traditional rhythm pieces. Following this course, we might continue with a longer course or learners might like to join one of my other classes.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to West African drumming using traditional rhythms played on djembes and bass drums.

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
  • This course is for people with little spoken English

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

  • Identify and demonstrate the main 3 sounds in the djembe - bass tone and slap
  • Play and perform common djembe accompaniments
  • Recognise and play 3 simple bass drum and bell patterns
  • As part of a group, play a traditional rhythm piece
  • Reinforce understanding of some of the cultural background of the music and the rhythms.

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
  • I can provide links to additional material that some learners might be interested in. I can also give some exercises that will help learners with their rhythm sense which can be done without drums - a table top would suffice!

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
  • Individuals will have their own learning goals but they will contribute to the progress of the group as a whole. We will create a supportive environment where we can learn from each other and help each other as much as possible.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • It is handy for me to email students links to material eg Youtube or share video on Google drive. When we play its good to wear comfortable clothes and we normally both sit and stand to play the different instruments but alternatives are possible.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

West African Drumming


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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