Tag: Game Changers

  • Don’t Force Your Entire Repertoire

    Don’t Force Your Entire Repertoire

    One of the main things you can do to improve the quality of your solo is to decrease the quantity of different solo phrases. Forcing Your Repertoire Many people try to sound better by running through a large repertoire of phrases when they solo. In just a few minutes, they play everything they’ve learned for the rhythm, and […]

  • A Theme-Based Approach to Soloing

    A Theme-Based Approach to Soloing

    The difference between a phrase-based and theme-based approach to djembe is profound. It may be one of the biggest reasons why many students will never sound like their African teachers – no matter how long or hard they’ve been studying, or how hard they’ve been practicing. If we want to advance leaps and bounds in our djembe playing, […]

  • How To Play More Fluidly

    How To Play More Fluidly

    Here’s an idea: To play more fluidly, try thinking of your role in the music as that of a conduit – not a container. Then work on yourself to become the most conductive conduit you can be. In other words, instead of spending effort trying to regurgitate all the phrases we’ve learned, we should train ourselves to […]

  • 5 Ways HOH Technique Can Help You

    5 Ways HOH Technique Can Help You

    Adopting Hand Over Hand takes a bit of work, but for us it’s been WELL worth the effort. In the long run, it saves you time and energy, and helps you spot commonalities you might not have noticed before. Benefits of Using HOH 1. Improve Your Timing HOH can improve your timing because the consistency […]

  • Intro to Hand-Over-Hand

    Intro to Hand-Over-Hand

    Keep Your Hands Moving Hand-Over-Hand is a technique where you keep your hands moving while you play. Your hands move up and down constantly, alternating back and forth, sometimes even pitter-pattering on the notes you don’t play (ghost notes). Think of it as moving your hands as if you’re playing the goloba (echauffment) – even when […]

  • Intro To Active Accompaniment

    Intro To Active Accompaniment

    “Active Accompaniment” describes a style of advanced dynamic accompaniment playing we hear in Roots Djembe music. It has to do with the presence and priorities of the accompanist. A player who plays Active Accompaniment aims to actively contribute to creating both better feeling and better sound in the music. This is in contrast to the […]

  • The Endangered Three – Oldstyle Djembe

    The Endangered Three – Oldstyle Djembe

    Think of “Roots” djembe music like Roots Reggae, Classic Rock, or Oldies. It’s old-style music from a few generations back.  Djembe music is changing. Today, younger people usually play modernized djembe music with a whole different set of tastes and motivations. The classic style is dying along with the old masters who grew up playing […]

  • The Soloist’s Progression: Theme-Based Soloing

    The Soloist’s Progression: Theme-Based Soloing

    The soloists progression is a basic formula for a good solo. It’s not to be followed rigidly. In fact, the whole point is to increase fluidity and let your solo progress organically. The concept of the soloists progression should be understood, and then used as a guide. Don’t underestimate it’s power. Using the soloists progression will, in […]

  • Solo Meditations

    Solo Meditations

    A solo meditation is a practice exercise in which you focus on one single solo theme, represented by a root solo phrase. Meditations help to develop an intimate relationship with the rhythm. Here’s a great example of one possible Solo Meditation for Madan. They are an incredibly helpful exercise that’s actually very fun to do. Its especially fun if […]

  • Slicing & Building

    Slicing & Building

    Working with “slicing and building” is how we refer to one of the most ancient soloing techniques in djembe music. It’s done by taking a basic phrase and extending or shortening it to build and release musical tension.  This is usually done by either doubling the length of the phrase, or slicing it in half. In theme-based soloing, slicing & building is one of the […]