I’ve bundled together lessons of similar challenge or instrument for each of the six rhythms in the Speaking of Rhythm series.

Working with one of these bundles can help you focus on your goals and area of interest.  You can learn beginning, intermediate or advanced drum parts, bell parts, solos, shaker parts, universal grooves or just soak in play along sessions from one piece of music.

The patterns in these bundles will give you a good understanding of how rhythm works in music from differing cultures – most of the bundles contain rhythm patterns from all of the music in the entrée series.

Over my many years of teaching and performing these rhythms I’ve learned quite a bit about how people progress and what steps a student must master before the next, more complex patterns, make sense and seem achievable.

Try out the bundles and let me know what you experience.

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Level 1 lessons are the easiest patterns for most people to play. You will use the easiest sounds of the drum (bass, tone) and the hand positions and patterns are easy.

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Level 2 patterns add one slap (or more) into the flow of bass and tones.

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Level 2.5 patterns use more than one slap in combination with tone and bass, and also require accurate timing on the offbeat.

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Level 3 patterns are longer phrases that use more challenging technique and the full range of sounds the drum can produce.

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Universal Master lessons are applicable to general rhythm development and the patterns are used in many kinds of music. These are challenging lessons.

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These solo sessions teach you how the lead drum functions inside the ensemble.  I play a sequence of variations, always starting from and returning to the basic pattern. This helps you to feel the approach to solos with in this tradition, always relating back to the basic.  Most of the solo sessions are “trading fours”.  I play a pattern for four Clave cycles and then leave a four Clave gap for you to follow and try your ideas. This is a kind of call and response and helps you develop your musical memory.

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Bell parts are often foundation rhythms for African Diaspora music.  The sound of the bell is distinct from the drums and guides the whole ensemble and becomes the default measure of time.   The pattern I present for you in the this bundle cover a wide range of important patters that you can use right away.

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The patterns presented in the Shaker Lessons are useful in many musical situations.  Sometimes music calls for a simple and sparse shaker part, and other times a more complex and dense one.   The lessons in this bundle give you that wide approach and help you develop your shaker playing.

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Selected tracks with no overt instruction from SOR1: Afoxé

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Selected tracks with no overt instruction from SOR2: Bembe

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Selected tracks with no overt instruction from SOR2: Djesse Muloumbo

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Selected tracks with no overt instruction from SOR4: Yan Valu