First, the world is getting smaller. African culture, for example, has been dispersed throughout the West, bringing with it the knowledge and excitement of mankind's oldest instrument. The West African drum known as a djembe, for instance, can now be found all over the world!
Anyone can strike an animal skin stretched over a hollow tree trunk or tin can and make an exciting sound. If you make that sound in a steady, repetitive pattern, it's called a rhythm. Add a little soul and folks might even want to dance to it!
If that rhythm continues long enough, you might be entering a trance. Soon, it will feel as if you are being drummed, as if no effort is being expended on your part although your arms and hands are in rapid motion.
There is something incredibly peaceful about this place. It is the sense of being in the flow, One with the universe. You look down and see your hands dancing on the drumhead. You can no longer tell where the drum stops and you begin.
*Yes, it's my real name. No, I wasn't born with it.
Drumming & The Holistic Expression of Rhythm (DATHEOR) is a method for learning to play hand drums, i.e. congas, djembes and ashikos, designed to bridge the gap between our ancient common tribal heritage and the modern world.
In addition to the conventional method of drum instruction (the brain/hand connection), we are led down a creative-unconscious path into a place beyond mind, that inner place where the roots of rhythm reside. This journey is at once calming and exhilarating, and while it is a challenge at times, the whole process is joyful and expressive at heart.
Traditional Drumming: Techniques of hand drumming, understanding timing (the "blueprint" of rhythm), playing multi-part songs from Africa and Cuba, how to use hand percussion.
Non-Traditional Drumming: How to feel the rhythm, rather than count it, and how to create original drum songs. There is also a strong emphasis on using voice and body.
Spiritual Drumming: Through drum meditations, we'll journey deep inside with the soul as our guide.
Street jam, Salvador, Brazil 2011
Yes! Drumming & The Holistic Expression of Rhythm can be taught as a series of workshops over time (i.e. once a week for a specific number of weeks) or as a weekend workshop (i.e. for 4, 5, or 6 hours each day) or on a one-time basis (i.e. 1-5pm on a single day). Suggested minimum time per session: 1-1/2 hours. Djembes, congas and other hand drums are supplied. Call or e-mail me for rates.
Most of us spend too much time in our heads. Drumming energizes, revitalizes and excites.
It is also a wonderful way to come together in community. Drum circles occur all over the world these days, bringing neighborhoods, friends and families together in the joyous and spontaneous process of making music.
Maybe you have never played an instrument, or perhaps you played one long ago, when you were in school. If the beat of a drum grabs you where you live, that could mean that the Spirit of the Drum is knocking on your door. I would answer it, if I were you.
Adults 18 and over. Hand drums (djembes and congas) provided. Most in-studio classes are offered in Seattle's Greenlake neighborhood.
No musical background necessary. This class is accessible to everyone, 18 and up -- even folks who think they can't "keep a beat."
I cover techniques from the ground up, as well as providing some cultural background about the drums and the rhythms we play. You will learn how to hold your part in a multi-part drum rhythm from Africa or Cuba. (And how to drum and laugh at the same time ;-)
Requires successful completion of Beginning Drumming, or previous study with me or another hand-drum teacher. We'll learn more advanced material like how to create your own drum rhythms, techniques of improvisation, singing and playing drums at the same time (gasp!), odd-signature rhythms, bell and clave patterns, and more.
It's true…we do learn differently in our (ahem) maturity. Often, there are issues with memory…and reflexes ain't what they used to be, either.
Learning to play different rhythms, i.e. pattern recognition, is a way to wake up the brain and stimulate mental and muscle memory. But unlike "brain gyms," crossword puzzles and PBS specials, drumming is sensuous – it involves body and soul. Another way to put it: Drumming is more fun!
In the Over 50 drum class, we take it easy. For instance, I understand that hands that have never drummed can't suddenly start moving at high speeds. Also, it may have been a long time since we've pushed ourselves beyond our perceived boundaries. We may think we can't learn something new when, in actual fact, we certainly can! So while I enourage folks to cut themselves some slack, I also help them go beyond their limitations. It is easier to do this when you are surrounded by your peers.
All most of us need is a push by a loving teacher. And that is whom I hope to be.
A private drum lesson is a great way to go if...
(a) your schedule doesn't fit with posted class schedules,
(b) you are more comfortable learning in a one-on-one drum teaching situation, or
(c) you have specific areas you want to work on.
Where: In my Seattle studio (additional cost to travel to your site; rates depend on distance traveled).
Any level, from beginning drummers to advanced!
Cost for Private Lessons: Contact me, or see the blog for current rates.
How many people can attend? Any number can participate, but a common number is between 6 and 50. We will need enough space to sit in a circle (armless chairs preferred). If I drive to your location, I can supply about 25 drums (congas and djembes). If the class is larger than that, the drums can be circulated so everyone who wants to, gets a chance to drum.
How long does a workshop last? I recommend a minimum of 1-1/2 hours. Two to 4 hours is even better (especially for out-of-town workshops). All-day drumming workshops (6 hours and up) are the best in terms of really learning how to drum. Workshops can be one day only (usually Saturday or Sunday), or last two days, as on a weekend. If we were to do a weekend workshop, a sample schedule might be 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday (less 1-1/2 hrs. for lunch and two breaks) and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, for a total of about 8 hours of class time.
What does a workshop cost? This is affected by many factors, including how far I have to travel, duration, and number of drums supplied. Please call for rates.
Lodging: If I stay overnight, sponsor provides lodging for me.
Expenses: I will reimburse many expenses incurred in advertising the workshop. In exchange for their support, the sponsor takes the workshop for free and will also receive some nice gifts.
Deposit: A non-refundable deposit of 20% of my fee, usually due at least 2 weeks before the event (it might be estimated at that point), is required. The balance is due on the date of the workshop.
In-Studio Workshops: My Seattle studio can accommodate a limited number of drummers.
You tell me where, when and how many, and I'll show up with a van full of hand drums and other cool percussion toys. My guarantee: Within minutes, you and your guests will be PLAYING DRUMS and making the music you love to dance to!
How much does a drum party cost? Depends mostly on number of guests and where you're located. Email or call me for more info. Cost will include supplying up to 25 drums, plus hand percussion. I can easily rotate the drums with hand percussion, if there are fewer drums than people.
How long will our party last? The party usually runs from one to two hours, with around 90 minutes being typical.!
To reserve a drum party: In order to reserve the date for you, I request a down payment of 20%.
Party Logistics: Participants will need chairs. Armless and straight-backed are best, like folding chairs, set up in a circle.
Set-up/Take-down Time: In general, 30 minutes to unload and set up the drums, and 30 minutes at the conclusion to pack up and reload into my van.
Assistance: I arrive approximately 1/2 hour early and request assistance in unloading my vehicle. At the end of the program, I will need help in reloading. Two or more people will make it easy work.
How to announce your drum party: If you are going to send out an announcement beforehand and would like some input from me, just ask. For instance, you can tell folks that if they happen to have a drum or hand percussion at home, they should feel free to bring it, and that no musical experience is required for participation.
Drum Parties for Private Events: Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations, Weddings, Commitment Ceremonies, Memorial Services, and celebrations of all kinds
Drum Parties for Management Retreats and Corporate Events: Award Ceremonies, Product Launches, Retreats, etc.
Parties for Fundraisers: Civic, homeless, environmental, schools, and other progressive causes.
Drum circles facilitate team-building and rejuvenate minds, bodies and spirits after long periods of focused brainwork.
The thing about drumming is that it's accessible to virtually anyone, so even if you're a little kid, if you've got hands, you can bang them on a drumhead and make a mighty sound. And of course, the younger you are when you learn to drum, the easier it is.
Grades K-12 (and Beyond): Each instruction program is uniquely tailored to the ages and abilities of the audience
Equipment Requirements: At the front of the room, one table, and 5 to 7 chairs
Seating: Audience sits in chairs and/or on the floor
Program Length: Approximately 40 to 60 minutes (flexible)
Set-Up / Take-Down Time: About 15-20 minutes on either end. I will arrive with a variety of drums and smaller percussion
In this lively, "upbeat" presentation, I will play some of the many kinds of hand drums enjoying great popularity these days, including Cuban congas, African ashikos and djembes and Middle Eastern dumbeks.
Students will learn that...
(a) the same rules that govern polite society are present when people make music in community,
(b) drumming is within everyone's grasp, and
(c) there are wonderful feelings to be had from the informed and disciplined expression of rhythm. Most importantly, kids will learn that drums and other musical instruments should be treated respectfully.
Using drums like Cuban congas, African djembes, Middle Eastern Dumbeks and Native American frame drums – I will demonstrate how cultures around the world are connected through the universal desire to express rhythm.
Customizable to any program theme, including (but not limited to): American history, geography, cultural studies, World Music and international festivals.
These include incarcerated children and adults, former prisoners and those serving out their time in half-way houses, developmentally disabled youth and adults, children with learning disabilities, people living in homeless shelters and folks in group homes, nursing homes, day care centers, and assisted living facilities. The drum speaks to everyone.
A drum circle can revitalize a population that has been sedentary for a long time. Amazingly, through the magic of rhythm, hands that had trouble opening and closing can shake a maraca or hold a mallet to hit a frame drum. After a nice drumming session, participants feel as if they've had a good work-out! (And they have!)
I have been meaning to share with you how special it was to have you come to Northaven. The most remarkable part of the session for me was how the drumming produced such a feeling of community between all of the participants. It was wonderful to have an activity for staff and residents to participate in together. We were all on a level playing field, rather than the usual set-up where the staff organize the activity and make it happen.
It was also amazing to see some of our residents with significant dementia participating and being so dialed in to what was happening. Quite often our music performances are simply that...performances during which the residents remain quite passive. But, with the drumming, they were all participating in some way — even the two women who didn't play an instrument. The excitement and interest that was generated by your visit here has prompted us to start a weekly drumming circle. We will be adding to our drum collection as finances allow. We would love to have you return to Northaven.
My passion to bring the Spirit of the Drum to special populations has included performing and/or leading drum workshops at prisons, halfway houses, and children's detention centers.
Drumming is Empowering. That is why it is so healing for people who have been so powerless for a long time.I am involved with The Freedom Project Seattle. I lead drum circles to welcome back into the community people released from prison, which strengthens community through transformation of prisoners into peacemakers.
Through the City of Seattle Parks & Recreation Department, I conduct workshops for learning-disabled children at parks throughout Seattle.
Every summer, I put on a drum performance for developmentally disabled youth at Camp Long in West Seattle. Other musicians from the local drumming community are invited to attend. The sound of the drums gets these kids very excited. They sing and dance along — even the ones in wheelchairs. I also hand out small percussion to the audience so they get to play with the band, too!
Homeless Shelters, Temporary Housing for Women, People on Work Release, Hearing & Sight impaired persons — and your special group. Drumming is a language that is understood by everyone.
Seattle Times Article: Drum Lessons Soothing Disturbed Teens
Resume Simone LaDrumma