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Classes and Workshops

Djembe and West African drumming classes every Tuesday night in LEEDS

African hand drumming is an engaging and fun hobby for anyone - it helps you to develop your sense of rhythm, and your hand & body co-ordination. Over the years our class has helped many hundreds of members from absolute beginner up to performance level. Unlike many instruments, drumming is quick and easy to learn, with only a few hand positions to learn, so new players find themsleves joining in with the group quickly and easily.

Now in its 25th year !!     Beginners are welcome (at new terms - see below)

Classes are every Tuesday evening from 7.45 to 9.45pm

Pricing. There is a term price (currently £50 for 7 x 2hr lessons) and a drop-in price of £8 per evening.   If you are a beginner drummer you will need to start at the beginning of a term. Drop-in is not available for beginner drummers after the first 2 weeks of each term - please ask if you're unsure. If you don't wish to commit to the full term you can pay the drop-in price for the first and second weeks, then 'upgrade' to the term price for the remainder if you choose. Please speak to me if you're uncertain about anything

Term start dates in 2017 are :  18 April,   6 June,  5 September,  7th November

Teaching includes - basic support, how to hold and strike the drum, drum-fluency excercises, leading into basic part playing, then multiple parts in genuine West African rhythms on djembe and dunduns leading into optional 'advanced phrases' in the later classes each term 

Venue - Inkwell, 31 Potternewton Lane, Chapeltown, Leeds LS7 3LW (www.inkwellarts.org.uk)

Please call 07765  943107  if you have any questions

Taught by Ianto Thornber, author of The Djembe Guide books - Ianto is a well known teacher with 23 years teaching, and 27 years drumming experience. For seven years he trained, arranged and led the performance group "Carabali", and now plays in Leeds band "African Passport". He has trained to a high level with master players such as  Mamady Keita, Seckou Keita, Nansady Keita, Iya Sako, Libon Traore, and Mockolo Sawane. 



‘DunDun Magic’

drumming workshop

 Peaceful, Rhythmic, Mesmeric, Melodic

This workshop provides a slow and gentle introduction to playing

 West African bass drums (Dunduns) in a meditation style

Adults and calm  kids only - typical group size 10 to 20


Whether or not you have played with drums before, you can enjoy learning the beautiful and simple interlocking music of these drums which hold a deep and sacred place in the Malinke cultures of West Africa. You will learn some genuine drum patterns from Africa and build the music slowly, part by part, as a co-operating group
"DunDun Magic !" workshops concentrate on the melodic interaction of these beautiful, deep bass drums by teaching the simple repeating patterns at a peaceful and melodic pace. The drumming can be complimented with bells, shakers, and woodblocks. 
This workshop will introduce you to multi-part drumming which is great for body & mind development, group awareness, rhythmic development and concentration, but above all, it's peaceful, musical and fun!
Ianto Thornber from Knock on Wood Music will guide the class from absolute basics over several sessions to build up your knowledge and skills, so if you fancy beating a drum and creating lovely mesmeric rhythms with others, book now . . 

Here's a couple of short clips of dundun magic from my regular classes      www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1WRS0gDlCE


Rhythm Healing and the Power of Drum

From the earliest times drums and their rhythms have been at the centre of social and cultural activities all over the world, in fact drums are often said to be mankind's oldest musical instrument. However, drums have not only been used for creating music or entertainment. In African tribal cultures, drums bore an important role during rituals and religious ceremonies, for personal expression and for communication purposes. The drum is a deep and sacred element of Native American culture, believing the beat of the drum to be in sync with the heartbeat of mother earth.

In the modern age, drumming is emerging as a significant therapeutic tool in the modern technological age. Drums and drumming are increasingly being used as powerful means of improving health and well-being, personal development and improving communication

Music therapists and therapy programs are increasingly using drums and rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. Drumming can be very therapeutic, helping us to get in touch with our inner selves as well as being a way to relax and rejuvenate our mind, body and soul. Recent research indicates that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of wellbeing. Study results demonstrate that drumming is a valuable treatment for stress, anxiety and fatigue. Drumming induces deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Moreover, drumming promotes the production of endorphins, the body’s own morphine-like pain killers, and can thereby help in the control of pain and those suffering grief.

Drumming and rhythm is such a powerful tool as it permeates the entire brain. The sound of drumming promotes neuronal connections in all parts of the brain. The process of drumming engages both the linear, rational left side of the brain (in the learning of cyclical parts and the understanding of how rhythms fit together) and the creative, intuitive right side of the brain (in the entrainment of rhythm in the body and the creative appreciation of the music). The two brain hemispheres often emanate different wave frequencies; drumming, like deep meditation, brings them into synchronisation, creating feelings of euphoria and flowing creativity.

Group drumming can complement traditional talk therapy methods. Players can drum out their feelings without saying a word or without having to reveal their issues. Drumming circles, ensembles and making music together in a group can be a unifying experience, encouraging self-expression and camaraderie as well as sheer, hands-on fun!

Drumming together breaks down barriers, builds personal and group confidence, releases stress, motivates and creates spontaneity. Drumming captures the heart of most who encounter it.

So it seems the drum continues to play a central role in our society. Why not find the rhythm and beat of your own drum? There are many drumming communities across the country promising anxiety release, physical toning, spiritual growth, creativity and personal empowerment whilst being a whole lot of fun - who couldn't use that?


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