Issue 50: Planning Ahead

I’ve spent a lot of time this week working through all I have learned from teaching Wider Opportunities classes in Djembe and Samba in order to create a complete set of plans for the year ahead. Whether or not I manage to stick to them remains to be seen!

For Djembe, I have used “The Djembe Guide” by Ianto Thorber as my main resource, along with ideas gleaned from colleagues that I have worked alongside. “The Djembe Guide” comes with a CD, and covers every aspect of djembe and has a host of exercises and rhythms.

Djembe Guide: For Beginners and Intermediate Groups (Percussion Guides)

My only niggle is that although he demonstrates each rhythm separately on the CD, I would have liked to hear them played together as well. You can buy a separate CD with the original arrangements of traditional drum compositions performed by the Carabali drumming ensemble from the website

While I was trying to find a picture that I could copy and paste (this one came from Amazon), I noticed that he has brought out Book 2, with more rhythms. I see a book sized hole coming in my wallet….


Product Details

I have used this excellent book; “The Beatlife Book – playing and teaching samba” by Chris Preston and Stuart Hardcastle as the source for most of the sambas I intend to teach. Once again, all the background information you need is there. The rhythms for the different sambas are set out very clearly, using traditional music notation but relatively easy to follow. The Cd has demonstrations of all the different parts, and then builds up a performance, step-by-step, adding each part in turn.

Product Details

Nearly all the warm ups and songs, are taken from Music Express Extra – Developing Music Skills. This has two sections, both supported by CD and Interactive Whiteboard Displays. The first section, Skill Builders, is a brilliant resource for developing beat, rhythm and pitch skills, and the second section has some great songs, plus ideas for teaching and performing them.

It was a bit of a slog creating the plans, I have to admit, but as I will be teaching three samba classes and two djembe classes over the year, the time spent now should save hours in the future. Now for the ukuleles…..

I would like to make it clear that these books are my own personal copies that I have been using for several years now, and my opinion is entirely my own and nothing to do with the publishers.


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