Bell Lesson Bundle

$18.00 $15.00

Every drummer should explore my Bell Lesson Package. Bell patterns are usually foundation patterns in this kind of music.The sound of the bell is distinct from the drums and guides the whole ensemble, and becomes the default measure of time. I have brought together some of the most useful and common patterns that you can use right away. You will learn the universal “cinquillo” rhythm, two common “seis por ocho” patterns, and several variations on the Clave rhythm. For a full breakdown on these patterns, please see my Clave Consciousness Series.

Lesson Length: 15:03


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Makuta, Track 2. Bell Lesson
Lesson Length 2:45 min
In this lesson I teach you the bell pattern for Makuta. This five stroke pattern is a universal rhythm that is played with various instruments throughout the world. In the second half of this lesson I show how this bell pattern relates to Clave. This is an easy combination – most of the strokes are in common.

Afoxe, Track 4. Bell lesson
Lessons Length: 2:52
Agogo (Bell) Lesson. In this lesson I teach you the main bell (agogo) pattern for Afoxe. This is an ancient rhythm from Nigeria, and it shows up many places in African Diaspora music, with different starting points and melodies. The pattern can be translated to marimba or numerous other instruments including bass drum and snare drum for “Afrobeat”. I find this to be one of the most useful patterns I know.

Yan Valu, Track 3. Bell Lesson
Lesson Length 3:34 min
In this lesson I teach you the bell pattern that forms the base of Yan Valu. This very useful pattern is used in many forms of music, you may have heard it as bass line. It is a form of the Clave rhythm when played in 12 over a main beat of 4. This pattern is similar to others used throughout the African diaspora but its unique structure could be considered the signature of many Haitian styles. It has a strong three in time of four feeling and connects with the main beat in 3 places.
In the second half of this lesson I show how the bell pattern fits with Clave, the key rhythm. It is the same essential 5 clave strokes plus two others, which give it a very circular and mysterious feeling. The Clave pattern is integral to the rhythm and is your most important guide to understanding the cross rhythms and syncopations you will encounter. Make sure you lock this relationship between the bell pattern and the Clave into your mind and body.

Hi Life, Track 3. Bell
Lesson Length: 1:18 min
In this lesson I show you the Highlife Bell pattern. The sound of the bell stands out from the drums and rattle and forms the basic reference point or time line of the groove. Each pattern we will learn for this rhythm has it own entry point in the bell phrase. Make sure you keep the four pulse in your body in a relaxed manner while you play the bell. If you need help with achieving this, please check out my Clave Consciousness lessons.

Bembe, Track 5. Bell Lesson
Lesson Length 1:40 min
In this lesson I show the Bembe bell pattern, which is the rhythm I call “12 Bell”. This pattern is widespread throughout the African Diaspora and is central to many rhythms. For a full breakdown, special exercises and practice session on this most important pattern, please check out my Son Clave and 12 Bell lessons here.

Djesse Muloumbo, Track 12. Bell Lesson with variations
Lesson Length 0:52 min
In this lesson I play three variations of Clave on a double bell. I teach them very slowly and later in the lesson I string them together and re arrange them. These interesting and challenging patterns could be used for many other grooves and played on different instruments.
... Kim breaks these rhythms down in every way possible and keeps your attention, while making listening and playing along to the different parts less like practice and more like fun.  He then builds the rhythms back up again in such a way that you get to hear every relationship between each of the parts played by the different instruments.  The best element in the series is his unique vocal adaptation of the different instruments played and sung in the rhythms. It is as entertaining as it is educational.

I thank Kim Atkinson for Sharing His Spirit with us in such a way that we can all become better players and facilitators
"I just wanted to thank you for actually caring to develop a simple yet enormously powerful teaching method that has transformed my music playing, listening and also speaking ability. Coincidentally, its also helped me run further without being as tired....I think its due me being able to feel and attend to each step I take more like a rhythm than a battle, and maybe it's because I've been stepping the pulse - when I practice speaking the rhythms - in an oval around my room"
"I really appreciate the way you have broken it down and shown how all the parts interweave.  It's a great way to get the whole rhythm into a non-left-brain part of my body." - Kathy
"I often teach my students that if you can "say it", you can "play it".  In his Speaking of Rhythm series, Kim takes this concept to the next level. Using spoken syllables and playing drums, each part is explored separately and then in every possible combination with each other, and against both the underlying pulse and Clave. These highly effective CDs accomplish what could only otherwise be done by having a multi-track recorder available for every class. (Except of course they are MUCH easier to use, and work in your car!)

Another extremely useful feature is that a different syllable is assigned not only to each different drum sound, but also to each hand making the sound. Thus, by learning to speak the rhythm, students also learn the proper "sticking" at the same time.

I enjoyed the arrangements so much that I even adopted the Afoxe rhythms for use with my Brazilian Bateria. We now play the same Afoxe patterns on Surdos, Repeniques, and Caixas."
"...the greatest benefit of your classes and CDs came to me as a salsa dancer, by improving my ability to hear and understand the Clave. ... this has made my enjoyment of salsa music and dancing that much better. Thank you again!"
"I've had some great fun and learning from Kim Atkinson's CD's. Bembe, Makuta, Nigerian Highlife and others are great sets of rhythms I was glad to add to my repertoire. It was helpful to really get inside clave rhythms too. Kim knows his stuff, makes it clear and accessible... and he rocks!"
WOW... Kim!! I spent about two hours enjoying and learning from your CD.. I was TRULY impressed with the format and success it gave me and will give others... YOU DID IT!

How does Speaking of Rhythm work?

• Speaking of Rhythm deeply involves YOU in the process of learning and expressing rhythm. You will learn to hold three contrasting parts : voice, feet and hands. This mimics the parts of the ensemble and you deeply feel how music works.

• Speaking of Rhythm is a fun and challenging game : lean where voice, hand claps and feet all interact in sequences of conjunction and opposition. You go at your own rate.

1) Connect the Syllables to Drum Strokes

Practice each drum stroke separately and speak the syllable as you hit the drum. Do this many times – you’re learning a kinesthetic language – connecting your voice and your hands.

If you need to review the syllables, hand positions and sounds on your drum, click here.

2) Speak Drum Language – Make Sentences:

Now learn the syllables for a drum pattern (for example, the tumba for Afoxé). Go slowly. Speak the sounds out loud and learn to say them effortlessly so they feel like a sentence.

3) Orient Yourself – Syllables with the Pulse:

Next, clap the pulse while speaking the syllables. This will show you how the drum part (via the syllables) relates to the main beat.

4) Make a Sentence with your Hands:

Now that you’ve learned a sentence in drum language map the vocal sounds to hand positions on the drum. (You can do this without a drum, but make sure you’re saying the syllables out-loud. You can practice this on a table, your body, anywhere).

5) Say the Sentence On the drum:

Say and play the drum rhythm. Notice that the drum is saying what the voice is saying and the voice is saying what the drum is playing.


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