How To Play The Djembe For Beginners | Larry Crowe | Skillshare

How To Play The Djembe For Beginners

Larry Crowe, Drummer, Percussionist

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
20 Lessons (1h 7m)
    • 1. How To Play The Djembe Preview

      1:01
    • 2. Introduction To The Djembe

      1:30
    • 3. Playing Positions

      1:18
    • 4. The Bass Tone

      3:05
    • 5. The Open Tone

      3:04
    • 6. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone and Open Tone: Introduction

      0:46
    • 7. Quarter Note Exercises Part 1

      3:30
    • 8. Quarter Note Exercises Part 2

      2:59
    • 9. Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Part 1

      4:24
    • 10. Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Part 2

      3:55
    • 11. Patterns in 3/4 Time

      3:27
    • 12. The Slap Tone

      3:33
    • 13. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note Exercises Part 1

      5:58
    • 14. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note Exercises Part 2

      5:06
    • 15. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Pa

      7:25
    • 16. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Pa

      3:23
    • 17. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 1

      4:35
    • 18. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 2

      4:51
    • 19. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 3

      2:32
    • 20. Conclusion

      0:39

About This Class

This course is designed to help students learn to play the Djembe. This West African hand drum is fun and easy to play! How To Play The Djembe: For Beginners is a step by step course that will introduce you to the three basic tones of this amazing drum and provide you with a number of patterns and exercises for you to practice. 

    Each video lecture will provide students with clear and easy to follow instructions. The learning process is gradual and each lesson builds upon the other. This course also includes an easy to read pdf of the exercises and patterns featured throughout the video in music notation form. 

  Hand drumming is an easy and fun form of personal expression. Students will gain self confidence, improve concentration and relieve stress by taking this course!

Transcripts

1. How To Play The Djembe Preview: hi and welcome to how to play the djembe for beginners. My name is Larry Crowe, and I'll be your instructor. This course is designed for beginners, So if you've never played a hand drum before or if you just want to improve your basic technique on the djembe, this is the course for you. In this course, you will learn an introduction to the djembe playing position, three basic tones of the djembe and some exercises and patterns that you can practice on your djembe, so let's get going. 2. Introduction To The Djembe: The Gem Bay is a large goblet shaped drum from West Africa and specifically the regions of Mali, Guinea and Senegal. The gem bay is carved from a piece of West African hardwood, and the drumhead is typically goatskin. It's 10 chinned with rope and the use of two metal hoops. Sometimes on the outside of the drum, you can see some really interesting patterns or designs that have been carved into the drums. Here's an example of AH, modern version of the djembe is made from fiberglass or plastic. The drumhead is synthetic, and it's tension with some tuning rods. The advantage of this drum is that it's not affected in any way by temperature humidity. The Gem Bay is used in ceremonies and celebrations to accompany dancers and singers. Today, it's used a lot in education and in drum circles and for creating music 3. Playing Positions: The first thing you need to know about playing the djembe is the plane position. The gem bacon be played in a standing position by using a strap or in a seated position. I'll be teaching from a seated position because it's easier and more comfortable. Use a chair or a stool that has no arms so that you can move your arms freely to play the djembe. Make sure the top of your legs or parallel to the floor and wrap your legs around the drum like this, and you want to tilt the djembe ford like this. This will allow the sound to come out of the drum. If you don't tell the drum, it'll sound really muted. Remove any jewelry, rings or bracelets that you might have one because you might damage them while playing the djembe, where you might even damage your drum as well. Okay, let's get ready to play 4. The Bass Tone: the first sound that you need to learn is the low bass tone. Traditionally, it's called goon or dune, but for our purposes, we just call it the bass tone. And it's the lowest tone that the djembe makes. It's a fundamental tone. It's kind of the anchor tone that you're gonna use in all the rhythms and patterns that you're gonna play on the djembe. The bass tone is played with the whole bottom side of the hand. In other words, the palm and the fingers. You want to keep this flat, and you want to use your arm from the elbow down, and you want to strike the drum slightly off center so you'll be using both hands. So this would be the playing position right here. You can pull your thumbs in tight to your hands like this, and that's basically the area you want to be striking. Okay, on either side, just like that. So let's try it So it should sound like this. Think of pulling the sound out of the drum. Don't play into the drum like this, because that really deadens the sound. You want to sort of Think of pulling the sound out like that. And of course, you want to use both hands. So you should practice with both hands. Try to get a really full sound out of the drum. So a very simple exercise that we could do right now is just alternating our hands just right than left. Right? Left. Just play really evenly. Practice it slowly. Take your time like this. So you want a nice tone to come out of the drum. Think about getting a great sound out of the drum. Another good little pattern to practice would be two strokes in either hand who are double strokes. So you would just be going right? Right. Left, left like that. Okay, So once you're getting a good tone and you're feeling comfortable with those little exercises, it's time to move on to the next sound. 5. The Open Tone: The second most important tone that we need to know about is the open tone. And traditionally it's called Go or Dough. But we'll just call it the open tone. And this is a sound that's created on the edge of the drug. Place your hand on the drum and line up your knuckles, and this is the section where your your palm meets your fingers. You wanna line these knuckles up with the outside edge of the drum like that so both hands would look like this. Okay, you want to keep your thumbs off the drum, Okay? And that's because you don't want to hit your thumb against the side of the drum here. It's very painful. It'll really hurt. So you want to keep your thumbs well off the drum. And really, you're just using this part of your hand right here. Okay, So I give you an idea of what this sounds like. This is the open tone, and again we're using arm and a little bit of risk this time. So it sounds like this. You want to keep your fingers together, Okay. You want to play like that? You want to keep your fingers together, and that will help you get a really great tone. Of course, you won't be able to do it with your left hand. So let's practice some alternating strokes. Right. Left, right, left. You want to play evenly? Try to get an even sound. You don't want one hand louder than the other like this. You know you want to go for a consistency. So once you're feeling good about that, you could also work on your double strokes. The right, right, left, left pattern. Okay, so practice that get comfortable with that. And now it's time to combine the bass tone with the open tone, and this is where things get really exciting. 6. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone and Open Tone: Introduction: OK, now it's time to combine the bass tone in the open toe. Here are a few really simple exercises to help you with your technique on the djembe. First exercise is based on quarter notes or a basic four count. 1234 Very simple stuff. There's a pdf that will be available to download from this video, and it contains all the exercises on the video. If you can't read music, don't panic as long as you can count, you'll have no problem with any of the rhythms in this video. 7. Quarter Note Exercises Part 1: Okay, This first exercise is bass bass tone tone. That's the basic sound. Were going for what? We're gonna do a few different variations of that. Okay, so the 1st 1 is gonna be right. Left, right, left. Okay, Bass, bass tone tone or 1234 Very simple. Okay, so here we go. 1st 1 starting with the right hand. So one, 234 Okay, the second variation is leading with your opposite hand. So for, uh, for us, we're gonna lead with your left. Left, right, left, right. Like that's always good to practice. Leading with either hand your right hand your left hand. So let's try that one to 34 Okay, so the next variation is right. Right. Left, left. So we're still doing bass bass tone tone. Okay, All counts in one, 234 Okay. And we should do the opposite leading with her left hand. It's always good to practice that you want to be flexible with either hand. So it'll be left. Left, right, right. One, 234 Okay, 8. Quarter Note Exercises Part 2: Okay, Another quarter note pattern, base tone, bass tone, and you're sort of using double strokes at this point. So it's bass tone bass tone, So let's give that a world one, 234 Okay, and then the next pattern is bass tone tone base. So bass tone tone base. So this is kind of an alternating pattern, a little bit trickier. Bass tone tone base. Okay, so we'll try that. One, 234 Okay. And the next one is toned bass bass tones. So this pattern Russia going to start with a tone first tone bass bass tone is kind of the opposite to the last pattern. So tone, bass, bass tone again it's These are all quarter notes or four count rhythms. One, 2341234 Very simple. OK, so let's try this 11 234 Okay, How we doing so far? Let's go on to the next section 9. Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Part 1: Now we'll do some quarter notes and eighth note exercises. Okay, Very simple. The count for the 1st 1 is one two and 34 and one, two and 34 Okay, Very simple. We'll do a couple of variations of that. So the 1st 1 is going to be base tone tone bass tone tone. That's basically the rhythm that's going on there. And those are the sounds that we want to get. Okay, so the 1st 1 is right. Left, left, right, left, left base, tone, tone, base tone, tone. Very simple. OK, so a countess in and we'll give it a world one, two, and 34 Okay . And of course, we should do the opposite. So left, Right, Right. Left, right, Right. Let's try that. One, two, and three, four. And okay , great. Now the next pattern were sort of alternating our hands a little bit more. So we want to go. It's the same sounds were getting were just using a different hand pattern. So we're gonna go right? Right? Left, right, right. Left. Okay. Right, right. Left, right, right, left. And it's still bass tone, tone, bass tone, tone. So let's try this 11 two and 34 Okay , that was great. And now the next one were really alternating. Right? Left, right, left, right, left. This one's a little bit tricky. Anytime you start to alter, it gets a little more difficult, but this is really great for your technique. So Right, left, right, left, right, left. Okay, one, two, and three. Four. - Okay . 10. Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Part 2: Okay, So here's another eighth note and quarter note exercise. Very simple. It's Ah, kind of sounds like a rock beat. Or if you know the song, we will rock you its base based tone, base based tone. Really simple. Okay. And we'll start off really simple with just right. Right. Left, right, right, left. Very simple. Ok, so that count would be one and 23 and four. Okay, so here we go. One and two, three and four. All right. Excellent. And now we should lead with her. Left hand. Left. Left, right, left, left, Right. Let's try that one. And two, three and four. Okay, Now, another possibility is right. Left, right, right. Left, right. Okay. So base based, tone based based tone were really working our right hand here. Okay, so let's try that one. And two, 3 a.m. Four. Okay. And the last possibility is again kind of alternating. Right, Left, right, left, right, left. So again, kind of a tricky one. But these air great to get you moving your hands around the djembe. So let's try that again. Or just to look at it again. It's right. Left, right, left, right, left. okay. It's still base based tone. Base based tone. Just another possible way of playing that. So here we go. One and 23 M four. - Okay . 11. Patterns in 3/4 Time: Now, let's do some patterns in three. Okay, So a very simple three count. 123123 Very simple. Okay, the 1st 1 is going to be bass tone tone, bass tone. Tone's. We're just gonna go. Right. Left, left, right, left, left. Okay, let's try that. One, 23 Okay. Of course. We should do the opposite. Which is left, Right, right. Left, right, Right. Okay, let's try that. 123 Okay, Another possibility is right. Left, right, right. Left, right. Like that. Let's try that 1123 Okay. Of course. We should do the opposite. Left, right, left, left, right, left. Let's try that. 123 Okay. And the next one is actually a combination of that idea. So Right, left, right, then. Left, Right, left. Okay, so we're just sort of combining the two ideas. Let's try that. One, 23 Okay, 12. The Slap Tone: all right. By now, you're pretty comfortable playing the djembe. You've learned the bass tone, the open tone, and you've played through a bunch of patterns, so you should be feeling pretty comfortable about your playing. So now it's time to introduce a new sound. Okay, and this is the slap tone, or it's also called Pa or ta. We'll just call it the slap tone, and this is kind of a tricky tone to master, and it's a very aggressive kind of sound. It's used as an accent to sort of spice up some of your rhythms, and it's a tough one to perfect. So take your time and practice it really slowly. Okay, the first thing you want to do is lying your hand up on the edge of the drum, just like you're setting up for an open tone. Okay, with your thumb off the drum again because you don't want to damage your thumb. And so your knuckles air lined up with the outer edge of the drum, the rim of the drum. But this time you want a slightly open your fingers. Okay, slightly open the open tone. Your hands Your fingers were closed for the slap tone. We want the fingers slightly open. The other thing you want to do is again. You're using your arm, but even more wrist action. And you're trying to hit the side of the drum here, the rim, the edge with this part of your hand and allowing these fingers to just slightly rebound off the drum. Okay, so it should sound like this. Okay, so it's a very high pitch sound, and your hand is kind of making a whipping motion. So the open tone sounds more like this slap tone, so it's a more percussive kind of sound. And, of course, you want to build to do it with either hand, right? So again, practicing something simple, like just alternating your right and left hand very slowly. You're not trying to hit really any harder. It's just you're aiming for this side of the drum and you're just generating more of ah, more impact with this kind of stroke. So relax. Um, I know it's strange to say, because it's really an aggressive kind of sound, but just try to relax and you'll probably get a better result If you try to really hammer it, you're probably gonna hurt yourself, and you probably won't get the right sound. You need toe. It's really all about the contact of this area here. Meeting this part of the drum on, then these fingers air slightly rebounding off that. Okay? All right. 13. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note Exercises Part 1: Okay, Here's some exercises that combine the bass tone, the open tone in the slap tone, All three together and combinations. And take your time with these exercises. There's a lot of them. And the bottom line is, you want to get a really good sound out of this drums to just be really careful and take your time and just be really careful to get good sounds out of the drum. That's really the most important thing. Okay, So the first exercise, um, again is 1/4 note exercise. It's just a four count. 1234 But we're incorporating all three of the tones. Okay, so the 1st 1 is bass tone. Base slap. Okay, so you're just going right? Left, right, left. Okay. Very simple. You just alternating your hands. But you're incorporating all three of these strokes, so let's try this 11 to 34 Okay. The next one, we should alternate and lead with her left. We always want to do. That's really important for drummers to be able to lead with their right or their left hand . So this will be left, right? Left, right. Okay. Bass tone, base slab. Let's try it. What? 234 Okay, so that's the first exercise. The 2nd 1 is, um right, Right, left, left. So it's double strokes. So you're going bass tone, base slap. Like that. Bass tone. Bass slap. Okay. And again, it's a four count rhythm. 1234 Okay. And of course, we want to lead with their left. So it'll be a base on a tone in a bass and a slab. Okay. One, 234 Okay, so the next exercise will be based. Tone, tone, slap. So base tone, tone slap. So right. Left, right, left again. You're just alternating. So bass tone, tone slap. So let's try that one to 34 Okay, great. Now, of course, we should leave with left. So left, right, left, right. Now be a slap bass tone tone slap. Okay. One, 234 14. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note Exercises Part 2: Okay, so the next quarter note pattern is bass, bass, slap tone. So bass, bass, slap tone. Right. That s so you're alternating your hands. So let's try that bass bass slap tone. 1234 Okay. And of course, you want lead with your left hand as well. So, bass, bass slap tone. Okay, Bass bass slap tone one to 34 Okay, the next possibility is right. Right. Left, right. We're still doing bass bass slap tone, but we're going bass, bass, slap tone. So it's right. Right. Left right. Or bass Bass slap tones were really working our right hand A lot here on this one. So let's try it. One to 34 Okay. And we should do the opposite. Left, left, right, left or bass. Bass slap tone. Okay, here we go. One to 34 Okay, So there's two more possibilities for this pattern, and that is right. Left slap tone. Okay, So, bass, bass, slap tone or right, left, right, right. Okay, let's try that one to 34 Okay. And of course, leading with left, which is left, right, left, left. Okay, So, bass bass slap. Don't. Okay. One to three. Four 15. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Pa: OK, now let's look at some porter note and eighth note possibilities. Okay? Incorporating the bass tone, the open tone in slap. Okay, so the 1st 1 is based. Tone, tone, bass slap bass tone tone, bass slap. Okay, base toned dune bass slap. Okay, So base don't doing bass slaps of the rhythm is one, two and three four. Okay, so I'll count us in one, two and three. Four. - Okay . And of course, we got a lead with left hand. So bass tone, tone, bass, slap or left. Right, Right, left, right. Okay. One, two, and 34 Okay , so here's another possibility. Right, Left, right, left, right. Or base. Don't dune bass slap. Okay, Base, don't Joan Bass slap. So we're really alternating our hands a little bit here. One, two, and three. Four. - Okay . And of course, the opposite. So left, right, left, right, left. Okay, left, right, left, right, left. Let's try it. One, two and three, four. Now, the next possibility is bass tone tone slap slap bass. Okay, so that rhythm is one two and 34 12 and 34 Okay, so it's base tone tone. Slap slap bass. Alright. Base tone tone, Slap, slap bass. Alright, let's try that. One, two and three. M four. Okay, so now the opposite base tone tone, slap, slap bass. Okay, left, left, right, left, right, left. Let's try. One, two and three. M four. Okay, Two more examples. Um base tone, tone, slap, slap bass. But we're alternating. So we're going. Right. Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left. Okay, one, two, and three and four. - Okay . And of course, the opposite. So left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. Okay. One, two and 3 a.m. four. 16. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Quarter Note and Eighth Note Exercises Pa: Okay, Here's another quarter note. Eighth note. Pattern to practice. Okay. Bass tone bass, bass slap. Okay. Bass tone bass. Bass slap. That's a rhythm. Bass tone. Bass. Bass slap. Okay, so I count us in one, two, and 341 Okay, Of course. The opposite. Left, right, left, Left, right, left, right, left, left, Right. One, two, and three, four. Okay, The next possibility is just in a more alternating fashion. Right, Left, right, left, right, right. Left, right, left, right. Or based tone tune. Bass slap. Okay, here we go. One, two and three for okay. And, of course, the opposite. Which is left, right, left, right, left. Okay, Bass tone bass, bass slap. Here we go. One, two, and three, four. 17. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 1: OK, now let's look at some patterns in six. OK, so basic count is just 123456 It's just a six count, six beat kind of rhythm. Okay, the 1st 1 Very simple. It's bass, bass tone, tone, slap, slap. So this one's great cause it gives you a chance to really work on all three of those tones . Okay? And you're just alternating. So we're just starting with our right hand first. And we're just going based base tone tone, slap slap or 123456 Okay, so I counted in in six and away we go. 123456 Okay , the next pattern in six is bass tone tone bass. Slap, slap. Okay, so bass tone tone bass slap slap. Okay, again, it's in six. 123456 Okay . And of course, we should lead with the left hand so it'll be left, right? Right, left right, right Or bass tone tone bass. Slap, slap. Let's try it. 123456 All right. The next exercise in six is based tone slap bass tone slap. So it's three in your right hand and three in your left hand. Okay? And again, it's a great one, because it you get to explore all the sounds. OK, so bass tone slap bass tone slap. Okay, here we go. 123456 18. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 2: Okay, so let's do a few more patterns in six seasons are a little trickier. The 1st 1 is counted like this. 123 and 456 and 123 and 456 Okay, it looks like this on the drum. So it's bass tone, tone, tone, bass tone, slap slap, bass tone, tone, tone, bass tone. Slap, slap. Let's give it a world 123 and 456 And okay , And we should look at the opposite. Bass tone, tone tone, bass tone, slap slap, bass tone, tone tone. Bass tone. Slap, slap. Okay, 123456 In. - Okay , this exercise, the count is 12 and 345 and 612 and 345 in six. Okay, so one, two and 345 then six. So bass tone, tone, tone, bass tone. Tone's slap. Okay, base tone, tone tone, bass tone. Tone's slap. All right, here we go. One, two and 345 and six. - Okay , of course, leading with the other hand, which will be bass tone, tone, tone, bass tone, tone's slap. Okay, so now you're slapping with the right hand. Let's give it a world one, two and three for five in six 19. Basic Patterns for the Bass Tone, Open Tone and Slap Tone: Patterns in Six Part 3: Okay, This is the last 68 exercise. Okay? And it's counted like this one. And 234 and 561 and 234 AM 56 Okay, and it's so it's base based, tone tone. Base based tone slab. Base based tone tone. Base based tone slap. Okay, let's try it. One and 23456 Okay . And of course, we've got to do the opposite. So leading with her left hand base based tone tone. Base based tone slap. Okay. Based based tone tone. Base based tone slap. Okay, here we go. One and 234 and 56 20. Conclusion: Well, here we are at the end of the course. Congratulations. You made it through. I hope you had a lot of fun and that you learned a lot about the djembe. I had a great time teaching you, and I'd love to hear if you have any comments or any questions I'd love to hear from you. Um, I would encourage you to keep practicing, maybe find some fellow drummers that you can jam with or exchange ideas with. And, um, good luck with your playing and take care.