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Hand drumming is possibly the most ancient form of percussion. Here you’ll find lessons where the only thing you need is two hands and a surface to drum on. We also cover the basics of some of the more classic hand drumming instruments like the djembe and the bodhran. Follow along with these lessons and soon enough you’ll be playing in drum circles all over your town!

Its Origins

The djembe drum is said to have been invented in the 12th Century by the Mandinke tribe in what is now Mali, in West Africa. It has been played by West Africans for generations forming an integral part of ritualistic life in Mali, Guinea, Senegal and other neighbouring West African countries.


African Percussion

Many of the most vibrant percussion traditions trace their roots back to Africa, and percussion instruments are an integral part of today’s African cultures. Polyrhythmic music is the norm in Africa with many different percussion instruments being played together in complex, ever-shifting relationships of rhythms and counter-rhythms. The “drum conversations” that occur in modern drum circles draw on these same dynamics.



The djembe (pronounced JEM-bay) is one of the most versatile and widespread percussion instruments on the planet. Its huge popularity is down to the fact that it can create an unusually wide range of pitches, namely the bass (low), tone (medium) and slap (high). These sounds are created by striking different areas of the djembe skin with the hands.


The djembe, a large goblet-shaped drum, is thought to have originated among the Mandinka people of West Africa. It has gained great popularity in the West recently, as it’s a very dynamic drum capable of a wide range of tones from deep thumping bass to resoundingly bright, high slaps. The loud volume of the djembe allows it to cut through loud mixes, and it is also easy to haul around.


Traditional djembes are generally carved of wood and are fitted with a goatskin head, while modern djembes may use synthetic materials for both the body and head. Djembes are usually played with the hands, although they’re sometimes played with one hand and one stick.

What to Expect:

Our interactive rhythm programs educate, inspire, energize, and connect while offering participants a safe, fun, and relaxed space to learn and play together.  Whether it be a leadership program, school residency, stress management program, drumming class, or facilitated drum circle, everyone is encouraged to learn and support each other during the journey.  We learn together, make mistakes together, support each other, and thus grow together. In this space participants experience a raised sense of joy which brings forth the ‘feel-good’ endorphins resulting in a reduced level of stress and anxiety at a level that is long lasting.

Traditional West African Djembe Technique

The West African Drum, Djembe has three basic alphabets. We use these three techniques to form rhythmic phrases, solos and make beautiful music. Since this is such a fun instrument to play, many people have developed or stumbled upon their own ‘unique’ way to play this drum but it would be a gross disservice to this amazingly rich percussion tradition if we didn’t learn the authentic way of how to play a djembe. A common rule for all three sounds is that all the sounds are played with the hands bouncing off of the drum.


This is the low frequency sound that is verbalised as ‘Boom’ and played with the whole palm in the centre of the drum. The hand is cupped slightly to get a better and more complete sound.


This is the middle frequency sound that is played using half of your palm; the fold of your hand and upwards (excluding the tips of your fingers) to be precise. This sound is verbalised as ‘Tu’


This is this high pitched sound that is played using half of your palm; the fold of your hand and upwards (excluding the base of your fingers) to be precise. This sound is verbalised as ‘Ta’

West African Drumming Level I (co-ed)


West African Drumming Level I is a beginning-level class, structured to teach basic rhythms and techniques while building confidence and understanding of the music. This class satisfies the pre-requisite for Djembe Diyamu.


Prerequisite: None

Level: Beginner to Advanced Beginner

Instructor: Kweku Darko

Cost: $20 per participant / per class session

Djembe Diyamu / West African Drumming Level II (co-ed)

Diyamu means “to speak” in the Malinke language; West African drum songs are conversations between drums, songs, and dancers. Djembe Diyamu is an advanced drumming group. In this ongoing co-ed class, you will explore the polyrhythmic patterns of West Africa, learning accompaniment rhythms, breaks, and exciting arrangements for traditional and modern West African rhythms. Dan also provides skill-building exercises to improve your playing and teaches the meaning and cultural history of the songs he teaches.

Prerequisite: West African Drumming Level I or equivalent experience.

Level: Advanced

Instructor: NaNa Frimpong

Cost: $20 per participant / per class session

Private or Small Group Lessons

This time is available for private or semi-private lessons. Do you and your family, friends, and/or co-workers want to experience the exhilarating joy of drumming? We are available to provide a thoroughly innovative and memorable event for birthday parties, church, and work retreats, Girl Scout Troop activities, etc. No drumming experience is necessary! Any and all levels will find it fun and intriguing. We have a large variety of drums and percussion instruments to share and can facilitate the private drum party or lessons at our studio or your place!

Private event hosts will comply with current CDC COVID guidelines.

Email us with your interests, and we’ll match you with an instructor.

Cost: TBD

YES! You can learn to drum NOW!

COVID-19 Precautions (case by case basis)

  • Indoor group classes are held in a very large studio, and class size rarely exceeds 15.  If you have not been vaccinated, it is probably prudent that you wear a mask.  If you are sick, or if you are around people who are sick, please do not come to class.    

  • Outdoor classes or "rhythm circles" will be scheduled "ad hoc" by the instructor, depending on weather conditions, and may take the place of an indoor class or be in addition to normal class schedule.   



Group Classes, Private Lessons,& Gifts of Rhythm

We welcome you if you are,

  • a total beginner who has never touched a drum before...  

  • someone who's drummed in the past and wants to get back into it...

  • tired of noodling on the drum by yourself, and need a drum community..

  • interested in learning the djuns (or dunduns - bigger drums played with sticks)...

  • a "closet drummer" - you have a drum in the closet, collecting dust...

  • have some experience, and interested in performance

Group Classes

Lively 60 mins drum for fun classes with drummers of all levels. 


What happens in class?  After some simple drills and warm-ups, we learn parts to traditional West African rhythms, then put them together in harmony and revel in the joy of playing them.  It's just as simple as that!


Newcomers:  There's always a simple beat that you can do and still participate in whatever we are playing.  We are a very welcoming group!

Technique: Correct playing technique is shown and reviewed often, but is not the focus of our time together.

Don't have a drum?  No worries, plenty of class drums to use, free of charge!   

Drum with YOUR Tribe!

Customized drumming sessions for you and your family, friends, church or work group!

Give The Gift of Rhythm!

Great idea!  Give someone a gift of private lessons or a set of group classes.  Get in touch and we'll make it happen very quickly!

Get a full hour of undivided attention - great as a first introduction, for brushing up on technique, or for the more advanced drummers who are ready to learn some more complex rhythms... 

Private Lessons

Location: private studio

Cost:  $20, $100, $200, $250 for 1, 5, 10, 20, ninety min classes

price is subject to change

This EIGHT-week hand drumming class will cover the fundamentals of tone production on any hand drum, as well as specialized techniques unique to different kinds of hand drums. Students will explore rhythmic traditions from west, all presented in an approachable format. This workshop is for anyone who wants to learn more about the joy of hand drumming! All experience levels are welcome, no prior training required. Students who already have some experience will have the opportunity to refine their skills and learn new techniques and rhythms. The final class will culminate in a fun recital/jam where students can showcase their new skills!



  • Mondays at 00:00-00:00 (grades 1-6) and 6:00-6:50 (7th grade through adult), beginning September 12 (6 weeks)

  • Open to students in first grade and up; adults and seniors welcome. Registrants should select the appropriate class for their age group.

  • Class size is limited to 15 participants

  • The class will take place at your location

  • Tuition: depends on workshop

  • Register byAugust for free registration. A registration fee of $20 will apply after August 31.


Materials: Materials may not be included in the cost of this workshop. We encourage participants to use their own hand drum for this class. If you do not own own we will provide the instrument. Acceptable drums include any hand drum which is capable of making the three basic sounds (bass, tone, and slap), such as a djembe, conga or tubano, bongo, or cajon. Other acceptable instruments: percussion types like shakers, tambourines, or wood block, or any toy drums.

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