Level 1

An introduction to the world of West African music and how to practically teach it.

We’ve designed this course to be accessible for people with little to no drumming experience, reflecting one of the most empowering aspects of this music: it’s really easy to learn (though tough to master!). The primary tool of the trade is the djembe, however the skills translate across to the other instruments too. We introduce several key tools, including the Workshop Template and Rhythmic Flow Chart: your blueprint for the music and how to teach it. Level 1 covers a range of applications for different ages and skill levels with resources and materials to equip you with road-ready skills and confidence.

Prerequisites: None; no drumming or facilitation experience needed

Level 2

Delves deeper into the music and works on strengthening your musicianship and leadership

Building on the fundamentals delivered in Level 1, we delve deeper into the music and work on strengthening your musicianship and leadership skills. The focus on musicianship is developed by a study of syncopation and polyrhythms, and how you can use these to teach not only musical concepts, but to explore the metaphors of collaboration and personal contribution too. Leadership skills capitalise on improved skill, understanding the music and your developing facilitation skills. We also cover ensemble creation and development, soloing basics and other useful (and fun) West African essentials.

Prerequisites: Completion of Level 1 unless discussed.

Level 3

Advanced skills and techniques for effective and rewarding sessions and programmes.

Raising the bar on your own musicianship and leadership skills, we take the music to new heights in Level 3. Exploring 12/8 rhythms, crafting more complex arrangements and further developing your soloing will have this level push you in all the key Themes. We also deepen the uses of the Rhythmic Role and Flow Charts, offering even more musical richness to your group. By taking the reins of our session, you will lead, direct and discover the joy and challenge of facilitating a grooving ensemble, West African style – rest assured it’s a very addictive buzz!

Prerequisites: Completion of Level 2 unless discussed.

The Manual

The Manual is the backbone of our Course. As well as being our study companion at the Course itself it also provides a crucial role in helping you apply what you’ve learned to the classroom, with host of practical road-ready resources that you can take straight to your students.

  • Aims
  • Themes
  • Phases
  • Curriculum Material
  • Instructional Resources
  • Teachers Bag of Tricks
  • Hand Signals Guide
  • Rhythm, call and échauff Notation
  • Templates
  • Glossary
  • Rhythmic Flow Chart
  • Workshop Template

The New Zealand Curriculum & African Drumming

Many of our participants are school teachers keen to take the power of African Drumming to their classroom. We’ve worked hard to align our Course content to the New Zealand Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching
Profession, to offer you the best possible teaching tools applicable to any classroom.

Engage in professional learning and adaptively apply this learning in practice.

Foster trust, respect and cooperation with and among learners so that they
experience an environment in which it is safe to take risks.
Manage the learning setting to ensure access to learning for all and to maximise
learners’ physical, social, cultural and emotional safety.

Teach in ways that ensure all learners are making sufficient progress, and monitor
the extent and pace of learning, focusing on equity and excellence for all.
Use an increasing repertoire of teaching strategies, approaches, learning activities,
technologies and assessment for learning strategies and modify these in response
to the needs of individuals and groups of learners.
Teach in ways that enable learners to learn from one another, to collaborate,
to self-regulate and to develop agency over their learning.

Select teaching approaches, resources, and learning and assessment activities based on a thorough knowledge of curriculum content, pedagogy, progressions in learning and the learners.
Harness the rich capital that learners bring by providing culturally responsive and engaging
contexts for learners.