Afoxe, Track 13. Solo Play along
Lesson Length: 10:40 min
In this lesson I use a “trading fours” format to teach you some solo movements. I play solo for the length of four bell patterns, then leave the same interval empty for you to play in. The groove continues underneath. You are free to try and copy me, quote patterns from the rhythm section, or make up your own variations.

Bembe, Track 12. Solo Lesson – “trading fours”
Lesson Length 14:00 min
In this track I play the lead drum and include some solo movements using bass, tone, slaps and cross rhythms. I play a solo pattern the length of four bell cycles, then I lay out for the same interval, with just the bell and shekere continuing. This leaves an interval for you to try your own variations. A good way to approach this is to just play the basic pattern all the way through and listen to how my variations relate to the basic pattern. The closer you listen to me as you play the basic part, the easier it will be to find your own variations.

Yan Valu, Track 13. Solo Lesson – “Inside”
Lesson Length 3:18 min
This is a lesson in playing with the basic lead drum part, staying within the main theme, but varying potions of it. You will learn how to play around the theme and maintain the glissando at the correct moment, reinforcing the main groove, with bass, tones and slaps.

Yan Valu, Track 14. Solo Lesson “Outside”
Lesson Length 3:13 min
In this track I show you how to step outside the basis solo drum pattern, as lead drummers in this tradition are sometimes called to do. This usually occurs after many of the standard phrases and melodies have been repeated and developed. These are my own ways of creating extra tension, and resolving it. You can start here and find your own. The Clave will guide you!!

Hi Life, Track 11. Solo Lesson
Lesson Length: 3:04 min
In this lesson I show you how expand upon the high drum part, which is how you build a solo in this rhythm. I play some simple variations, then two different cross rhythms and resolution. The tempo speeds up, I play a few more variations, some quick rolls within the groove and end with a flourish. I encourage you to make up your own variations based on the high drum part, quote and embellish any of the other parts, create your own riffs and make it back into the groove seamlessly.

Track 11. Solo Lesson
Lesson Length 2:58 min
In this track I show some of the movements I use on the solo drum part of Makuta. In a traditional situation, these movements would be dictated by the dancers and song. In this recording, I”m using my knowledge of the rhythm and style to create my own patterns to enhance the music.

... 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.