Remembering How to Drum: Djembe Technique
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(Jan 01, 2004)
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This DVD provides a study of traditional Djembe technique, enabling you to play with confidence and clarity. It includes the following exercises:
- Interactive Ensembles that allow you to hear only the drums you want and silence the rest. For instance, hear all drum parts, Djembe only, or just Dunun. Eight options total!
- Basic Yoga warm-ups chosen especially for Djembe drummers.
- Infinitely looping practice rhythms appropriate for all levels, beginner through advanced.
- Develop bass, tone, and slap in order to speak clearly on the drum.
- Question & Answer exercise designed to get you "out of your head" and into the feel of the music.
- Ghosting exercises in binary & ternary.
- Polyrhythmic & polymetric exercises.
- Complete maintenance & tuning instructions.
About the Actor
Michael Taylor, founder of Holy Goat Percussion, is a percussionist, educator, recording artist, performer and composer specializing in West African Djembe and Dounun drums. He teaches in the Chicago area at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Sherwood Conservatory, Steckman Studio of Music, in the Chicago Public Schools, and privately at his studios in Oak Park, IL. In summer 2003 he released his third CD entitled "Silence in the Rhythmic Soup - Rhythmic Environments for Yoga and Meditation."
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Remembering How to Drum is NOT for a true beginner despite what the DVD jacket may say. A rank beginner, such as I am, needs instruction that takes great care in showing the sequence of strikes. This needs to be done v-e-r-y slowly and repeated with a short practice. Clearly some of the drumming instructors such as Taylor are great drummers but not great teachers for the beginner.
At the same time that I purchased the Remembering... DVD, I bought the Gentle Djembe DVDs Vol 1 and Vol 2; These are more helpful. I how have purchased the Jim Donovan, Rhythmic Foundations, based on what I saw on his YouTube video. Jim is a great teacher of the basics -- he leaves the beginner confident in what he/she is learning and mastering. I recommend checking out the various drumming instructors on YouTube BEFORE any purchase. That will give you experience in the different teaching methods and the pace of the instruction. I found the YouTube videos of Jim Donovan and Norm the Dummer (Normthedrummer) most helpful. See their videos at:
Herb - a "wa-na-be" drummer!
Blessings to Taylor,
After I posted this review at Amazon I got an email from the production company that produced the DVD. They confirmed that they knew it was not compatible with the Mac OSX operating system. Apparently the DVD, which is truly excellent, has gone into a second production run. DVDs from the second production run are OSX compatible. The production company sent me one from the second production run and it works fine on OS X. Blue 7 Media wrote me an email and said that as of June 2005 all the DVDs available through Amazon are from the second run. (Thank you!)
The more I play the more I appreciate the yoga exercises to loosen up and care for my hands!
I was disappointed when I got the intermediate. There's only one rhythm, really, and there's no indication of the notes that comprise it. He works you up to the ultimate rhythm, but doesn't tell you that's what he's doing, so it actually feels like he's making you learn three rhythms in a row. Just when you figure out what the heck he's doing on the first, he switches to the second, then you figure that out and he gets to the third. When it loops back, you really just want to do the third, because that was the goal all along...but no, he's back to the easiest version, and the madness starts all over again. Once you master that rhythm, your only option is to move on to the advanced, which is really the same rhythm, another step harder.
My guess is that the artist's response is that I'm supposed to be able to feel the notes and hear the differences and figure them out myself...but if I wanted that, I'd just buy a CD and listen to that.
Even without the annotation of notes, I could have dealt with this if it had more variety - several rhythms to learn, instead of essentially just one that gets harder as you go along. I have the one down...now what?