West African Drumming

Ref: C2523609

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. Complete beginners might prefer to join my beginners class on Fridays .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?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This is a mixed level group and if you are a complete beginner you might prefer to join my beginners group on Fridays unless you have existing musical skills or are comfortable with a rapid learning pace. Contact tutor directly if needed.

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

  • Play djembe accompaniments for a traditional rhythm
  • Play bass drum and bell parts for a traditional rhythm piece
  • Recognise and play the 'call' phrase played on a djembe
  • Know some djembe solo phrases for the rhythm piece
  • Know and understand the cultural background for the rhythm we have studied.

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
  • It may be helpful for you to follow links to additional information that I will send out by email. I will also send out audio or video clips and notation to support your learning

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • Many students have their own djembe. If you have one, please bring it and we can see if it is appropriate to use in the class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • You might like to research 'djembe' 'malinke culture' or watch the short film foli https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPLIuBy9CY

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • There may be opportunities to perform and rehearse with the Drummed Up community group.

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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