West African Drumming

Ref: C2525336

Due to face to face teaching being suspended unfortunately this course is not currently available for enrolment.

We are launching a range of online courses shortly that may be of interest to you so sign up here to hear more.

Fill in your details below and we'll be in touch when courses are available again


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 available 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. This course is aimed at students who already have some experience or existing musical skills.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • It would be beneficial to have some basic musical skills or drumming experience. My beginners class may be more suitable if you are a complete beginner.

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

  • Play bass tone and slap correctly on a djembe
  • Play several accompaniment parts on the djembe
  • Play several bass drum and bell parts for a traditional rhythm piece
  • Play several solo phrases on a djembe
  • Develop an understanding of the cultural background of the rhythm we are studying

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

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 information sheet

West African Drumming

Is this course right for me? Request more information

Due to face to face teaching being suspended unfortunately this course is not currently available for enrolment.

We are launching a range of online courses shortly that may be of interest to you so sign up here to hear more.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing