Classes & Workshops

I teach Djembe/Dundun, Conga and percussion, Brazilian Percussion, Cuban Music, Drum Set, Body Rhythm, and Rhythm Theory to people of all ages and levels of musical experience.

I tailor my presentations to suit the needs of different groups and situations. I work with a wide variety of people ranging from low pressure community/hobbyist groups to college students and professionals.

Below you will find a list of the types of classes I teach on an on-going basis as well as links to one-time event workshops which I offer.

Kim Atkinson Drumming

Kim Atkinson on Brazilian Surdo

Mondays (click for details)

Private lessons by appointment.

Kim teaches World Percussion to High School students at Credo High School (Pulblic Waldorf Charter School) in Rhonert Park.

Tuesdays

Kim teaches Embody rhythm to young people at schools throughout Sonoma County. If you would like to see a DVD of my work with elementary school children, please contact me.

7 to 9 PM, Penngrove CA. I teach a beginning /intermediate djembe and dundun class at a private home. I use many different teaching methods to help you understand rhythm in general, and the traditional West African djembe rhythms gifted to me by my master teachers Karamba Diabate, Abdoulaye Diakite, and Mamady Keita and Babatunde Olatunji. In each class we start with warm up grooves and games, we do some improvised music, sometimes we get up and move, then we play one or two of the traditional drum songs. I provide the dundun bass drums with bells, and can bring a djembe for you. Please email me or call (707) 889-4949  if you want to be part of this class.  Please see my course outline to the right. Drop in $25 per class.

Wednesdays

9 am to 12 noon – Kim teaches World Percussion to High School students at Credo High School (Pulblic Waldorf Charter School) in Rohnert Park.

3 to 5 PM Private lessons, by appointment.

7  to 8:45 PM, Sebastopol CA. Hand Drums Ensemble for Djembe, Dundun, Conga, Cajon, Bongo and more. This is a intermediatate hand drum class where we learn multiple parts to classic dance rhythms that inform American Music. Please see our repertoire and class out lines to the right. Class is held at the Miss Daisy’s in Sebastopol. Please  email or call me at (707) 889-4949  if you are interested. $25 per class.

Brazilian Percussion class is on hold at the moment. Please call and express your interest. This is a performing group class for Teens and Adults. We learn instruments of the Brazilian Bateria (parade orchestra): bass drums, bells, shakers, stick drums, snare drums, scratchers and more. We play rhythms from around the world plus my own compositions and arrangements. Hear the music. Class is conducted in a circle, while standing and moving to an easy step to keep time. Please see course outline and contact me to see if you are ready for this class. Please call (707) 889-4949.

Thursdays

9am to 3pm: Kim teaches percussion, body rhythm, movement and music to children and young adults at schools in Sonoma County. If you are interested in having me present at your school, please contact me at (707) 889-4949.

3 to 5 PM Private lessons, by appointment.

7 to 9:00PM, East Santa Rosa Mulitlevel hand drum class for, conga, and percussion. We play rhythm games, learn technique, call and response, polymeter, stick work, and involve spoken rhythm and movement. Our repertoire includes Nigerian Highlife and Ibo, Haitian Yan Valu, Congolese Zebula, Brazilian Congo, Afoxé and Maculele, Cuban Iyesa, Conga and Rumba.  I can bring a hand drum for you, please call in advance. Cost is $25, some options for  sliding scale. Everyone is welcome to come to this class, please call Kim to register and for last minute details. (707) 889-4949


Fridays

Kim teaches World Percussion to High School students at Credo High School (Public Waldorf Charter School) in Rohnert Park.

Private lessons, group classes, rituals and performances by appointment.

Saturdays

Private lessons, group classes, rituals and performances by appointment.

Sundays

Sundays:

Private lessons, group classes, rituals and performances by appointment.

DJEMBE & DUNDUN - Intermediate

DJEMBE & DUNDUN

This class is for intermediate players. I like to teach this class as my teachers taught me, by example, without words or concepts. I go slowly and methodically and I prefer not to get into excessive analysis or discussion. I demand memorization and do not use notation. Students learn and remember by speaking syllables. Our repertoire consists of material I have learned from Abdoulaye Diakite, Mamady Keita and Karamba Dambakate, including: YANKADI/MAKRU, SORSONETT, KUKU, KOTEDJUGA, KASSA, MANDIANI, KAKILAMBE (4 &6;), GARENGEDON, FANGA, DJOLE,  and other rhythms. I teach each rhythm with a specific call or break which identifies it. This allows me to call changes and new rhythms with my drum and keep verbal talking to a minimum and drum talk to a maximum. This keeps energy fresh, moving forward, and aligned with the tradition. Typically we play one ensemble rhythms for 6 to 10 weeks while briefly touching on others to maintain our repertoire. I encourage senior students to improvise, solo, and memorize lead technique patterns and arrangements. Private lessons and beginning classes are available.

Level 1- Introduction to djembe drumming: bass, tone and slap, simple movement patterns, flams, learning to hear the break. Call and response. Listening to dun dun. Basic dun dun and accompaniment patterns for Sorsonett, Yankadi, Fanga, Djole.

Level 1.5- Work on slaps, distinguishing tones and slaps at faster tempo. More complex dun dun patterns. Kuku, Djole, Yankaki/Makru arrangements,  Students learn to call the rhythm in and out. 1st movement to N’gri.

Level 2- Strengthening tones, being relaxed. Standing and playing. More complex movement of the hands. Faster tempo. Self expression- riffing around the dun dun and calling clean breaks. Accompaniment and dun dun for Mandiani, Garengdon.

Level 3- Complete arrangements for Ngri, Yankadi, Makru, Kassa, Djan, Sunu, Sorsonett, Komodenu, Dansa. Learning solo parts (“technique”).

Listening list:
Mamady Keita “Wassolon” and “Nankama”
Adama Drame “Great masters of Percussion”
Les Ballet Africain Vols. 1 & 2
Fatala “Gongoma Times”
Farafina “Bolomakote”
“Abdoul Doumbia”

CONGA and PERCUSSION - 5 Levels

CONGA and PERCUSSION:

This class has 5 levels.

Level 1 – FUN WITH DRUMS Introductory class: covers basic posture, strokes, concepts and simple patterns with both sticks and hands. I provide specific exercises each week for homework as well as creating games, dialogues and compositions for the class. In this class you learn how drumming works, what the variables are and most importantly how to keep steady musical time. We learn through repetition, with the body and the mind, intuitively and intellectually. We respect and learn from the drum, the rhythm and each other.

Level 2 – Continues and adds ensemble rhythms of varying complexity. Our repertoire includes: AFOXE, TUMBAO, MAKUTA, DJESSE MULOUMBO, MBAYE, and BOMBA, CALYPSO. We play one rhythm for 6 weeks and work on bell and clave extensively with sticks, hands and body rhythm.

Level 3 – Expands the ensemble to include full arrangements with talking drum, bells, and shekere as well as variations on the appropriate parts. I include rhythms of greater complexity: YAN VALU, NIGERIAN HIGHLIFE, ZEBULA, BEMBE, PALO, MACULELE.

Level 4 – Emphasizes musicality, versatility and musicianship. Students learn to make calls, respond, change tempo and dynamics, change feel, and to improvise variations. Advanced clave concepts and 4 vs. 6 illusions are presented through such challenging rhythms as RUMBA, ABA CUA, CONGA, MOZAMBIQUE, ELIMA, WARA, BAKONGO, SAMBA DE RODA, CABULA, SIKYI HIGHLIFE and KPANLOGO. Students are encouraged to expand and develop their vocabulary and understanding of common rhythms found in contemporary popular music and learn to create meaningful variations of them.

BRAZILIAN PERCUSSION - Intermediate

BRAZILIAN PERCUSSION:

This class is a preparation for the CARNAVAL SPIRIT Parade Group and focuses on the instruments of the Bateria: Surdo, Caixa, Agogo, Tamborim, Ganza, Repinique, Reco Reco, Pandiero and Quica. I conduct class with students standing in a circle and everyone learns a simple step to mark time. We proceed by speaking patterns and arrangements, then learning instrumental technique.

Our repetoire includes : BAIAO, AFOXE, SAMBA REGGAE, SLOW SAMBA and MARACATU as well as several of my own compositions. The emphasis here is on musicality. The techniques are simple, the arrangements straightforward and accessible, and the music is exciting. We also expore Afro Brazilian hand drum rhythms such as Ijexa, Congo, Cabula, Barravento, Congu and Maculele. Advanced students may be invited to play for dance class.

I conduct this class standing in a circle. I show simple footstep which lock every one into the same time frame and from there we speak the rhythms we want to learn. Finally we deal with instrumental techniques, patterns and variations. I find this process to be very effective in helping people to always know where the pulse is, which stroke or rest of the pattern is “1” and how to express themselves within the framework of the music. They also learn how closely dance is associated with the drumming, and in fact, are started on a path which may lead them to dancing, which is where they will learn the real “feel” and soul of the music.

Level 1- Intro to Brazil percussion: ganza, agogo, tamborim, surdo. Basic dance steps and hand claps. Simple chants. Slow Samba and Afoxe. Samba Reggae. Call and response with Bateria.

Level 1.5- Contra surdo, caxia (tarol), more agogo patterns, faster tempo. Call and response with repinique and bateria plus simple songs.

Level 2- Hand drum rhythms: Ijexa, Maculele, Samba, Capoeira. More difficult instruments: berimbau, pandiero, cuica. Harder songs.

Level 3- Tamborim designs for Batucada. Repinique calls. Agogo, cuica, and pandeiro solo. Samba Reggae styles. Playing for dancers. Adapting folkloric rhythms to drum set and Bateria.

Hear the Music

CUBAN MUSIC - intermediate level

CUBAN MUSIC:

These classes are structured for intermediate level players and those who have extensive background listening or dancing to Cuban Music. The focus is on RUMBA, CONGA, AGBE, PALO and MOZAMBIQUE. I do extensive breakdown and analysis to show relationships between parts. I give many exercises for learning to hear the interplay of patterns. It is expected that students do considerable listening and practicing on their own. In advanced classes we learn songs.
I know many songs and teach them when appropriate, and I do not teach Bata drumming.

Cuban music is very tricky to the uneducated ear. Anyone who wants to study with me must make a commitment to regularly listening to recordings of the masters. I require that students go through a rhythm fundamentals class, as well as have proper conga technique.

Level 1- Intro to Cuban music: Clave and Tumbao. Rumba Yambu. Basic Rumba dance steps. Ritmo Yuka. Ritmo Agbe.

Level 1.5- Ritmo Iyesa. Rumba Guaguanco. Ritmo Makuta. Ritmo Palo. Basic Bongo. Basic Quinto.

Level 2- Ritmo Abacua. Rumba Columbia. Ritmo Conga. Basic timbales. Quinto Movements. Ritmos de Arara.

Level 3- Ritmo Songo. Ritmo Mozambique. Advanced Solo ideas. Playing for and with dancers. Applying folkloric rhythms to drumset.

Private Lessons Available.

Hear the Music

DRUMSET

DRUMSET:

I’ve been playing drumset since 1980, and I specialize in African, Carribean and Brazilian Rhythms mixed with Rock and Roll. I teach drumset in private lessons and work with all ages. I follow the student to provide challenges based on what they already know. I emphasize feel, dynamics and understanding and I encourage counting to develop precision. I find out what the student can do and then give related patterns for variation. I use notation when appropriate, usually after playing to remember what we did, rather than before playing, to try and tell what to do.

EMBODY RHYTHM™

EMBODY RHYTHM™:

Embody Rhythm is a fun class for everyone, to help you expand your sense of Rhythm and Melody. We use call and echo, body drumming, word and counting games, drum language and simple movements to experience what different rhythmic effects and patterns feel like. I work with Left/Right balance, Upper/Lower body coordination and create games and exercises to meet the needs of individual students. We alternate between sitting and standing, full body movement or foot taps, analysis and practical application. I provide a set of tuned percussion tubes (BoomWhackers) that turn simple patterns into cool grooves. We can also learn arrangements of World Rhythms that can be applied to any instrument or dance. Be prepared to Drum, Sing, and Dance!

TIME COUNTS™ - rhythm theory

TIME COUNTS™ – rhythm theory

This class teaches counting, notation and analysis with movement as a means of understanding rhythm. Various theories, definitions and concepts are presented and challenged, including Eastern and Western notation systems. The goal of this class is to help students learn and embody accurate musical time, learn basic notation, and to know how and what to count.

Private Lessons Available

Private Lessons Available

Feel free to contact Kim regarding Private lessons, small groups or any other configuration if you don’t see it listed above.

WHAT HIS STUDENTS SAY:

“…he makes what seems complex, fun and accessible.”
“…paced ingeniously, so there is something for everyone!”
“…Kim has a way of bringing in his vast knowledge and experience at each class.”
” I’ve studied percussion with various teachers across the country for 10 years, and Kim is truly the finest teacher I’ve found.”
” Kim is creative, challenging, and above all, patient and good humored with students of all skill levels.”