Afoxe Track 9. Conga Lesson (mid drum)
Lesson Length: 2:35 min
In this lesson I teach a part of Afoxe. It is simple technically, but because it is mostly empty (only 3 of 8 potential hits are sounded) it can be a challenge to keep steady. The slap is played open, without grabbing the drum. It is a very useful, universal pattern that can be part of many ensembles. It has a beautiful swing when played together with Clave, which you will learn in this lesson.

Afoxe Track 3. Tumba Lesson, Level 2, with Clave
Lesson Length: 2:33 min
In this lesson we learn how the Afoxe bass part fits with the key rhythm (Clave), which is at the root of the whole ensemble. Speaking the syllables of the drum pattern while clapping the Clave (key pattern) is the best way to get the interaction of the two patterns into your body. After we learn it by voice we”ll play it together on the drum.

Bembe Track 2. Mid Drum Lesson
Lesson Length 4:40 min
In this lesson I teach you a pattern based on the “3 in the time of 2 cross rhythm”. This requires attention so you don’t lose the main beat as you play a pattern of three hits in the time of two beats. This is one key to the “lock” of playing trance inducing cross rhythms having the 3:2 polymeter completely grounded in your body. When that becomes easy, I show you how combine this part with Clave. This is the core of these music lessons; relating each drum part to the guideline Clave pattern.

High Life Track 7. Mid Drum (conga)
Lesson Length: 3:26 min
This is a lesson in a pattern that is wide spread in many kinds of music. It is based on a sequence of 5 hits and 3 spaces, and you alternate between tones and slaps. There are several ways you can move your hands to make this pattern and once you learn it, find your own. A second level of challenge is to leave out the bass strokes and see if you can keep the pattern steady. This helps the bass player really be heard, and you can add the bass notes back into the groove when you want emphasis. The second part of the lesson teaches you how the pattern fits in Clave. This is key! Notice that one half goes with and the second half goes against.

Makuta Track 4. High Drum Lesson

Lesson Length 1:57 min

In this lesson, I teach you a high drum part for Makuta. This pattern has a universal rhythm “tresillo” at its core, with three additional strokes. This is an intermediate level pattern you will keep tones and one hand and slaps on the other. In this rhythm, as with most Cuban rhythms, the slaps are played closed, with your fingers remaining on the drum after the stroke, stopping the vibration. Review the drum sounds here.
... 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!

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.