• • 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.

Track 2. Conga – The Theme Rhythm
Lesson Length 3:16 min
In this track I teach you the main theme of the rhythm, using the Gun Go PA method. It is a long phrase, I teach it slowly, and in two halves. Once you know the order of sounds it becomes a simple song, a drum song that you can play at what ever speed is comfortable for you. This pattern is very melodic, using bass, tones and slaps and works at various tempi – slow, medium, fast or very fast.

Track 3. Theme Rhythm with Clave
Lesson Length 1:47 min
Now, learn how the main theme of Djesse Muloumbo fits with the key (Clave) pattern that is the basis of the bell pattern for this rhythm. Most of the drum hits are in conjunction with the Clave strokes, so it is easy to coordinate speaking the pattern while clapping. If you need more information or lessons on the Clave patterns we are using here, please check out my Clave Consciousness lessons.

Track 4. Tumba Lesson
Lesson Length 1:19 min
Here is the Bass part of this rhythm. This is an entry level pattern and one used in many rhythms, so if you are a new drummer, start here. We work slowly with the Tumba (bass conga) drum. The trick to this pattern is how to come into the time stream properly to create the right feeling. I go over that a few times in this lesson. When you get it, it is quite a simple pattern, and later on there are many variations.

Track 5. Tumba Lesson with Clave
Lesson Length 1:24 min
In this track I teach you the bass part with Clave. This is one of the main points of this program: how the individual drum parts fit with the key pattern which is their guideline. Don’t skip this step even though it may be challenging. In this lesson you really learn how these rhythms work! Go slowly with me as I lead you through it.

Track 6. High Drum (Quinto) Lesson
Lesson Length 1:40 min
This is a universal lesson – learn to to feel and play on the “upbeat/offbeat”. The rhythm presented here is used throughout the world to provide musical momentum. It can be played on a drum, bell, sticks, shakers, marimbas and more. You’ll learn to come into the music before the beat and stay on top of the wave, moving the rhythm forward without working hard – just by balancing correctly. This pattern is part of many grooves from Cuba, West Africa and beyond and has a distinct relationship to Reggae, Samba Reggae, New Orleans music, and many other forms of American music. Learning to play with a relaxed feeling on the offbeat is key!

Track 7. High Drum Off beats with Clave Lesson
Lesson Length 5:25 min
This is a master lesson in three way coordination: the high drum offbeats together with the main beat and Clave. This lesson will help you stabilize your sense of musical time in the midst of seemingly contradictory rhythms. In the previous lesson you learned how to play the offbeat high part while keeping relaxed time. Now we will use that as a base and add the Clave. I build it up two different ways – first you speak the high drum and clap Clave hits one at at time, then we start again, and do another way: you clap Clave first and we add syllables one at a time with the voice to mimic the drum. If you’ve mastered how the the Clave pattern fits with the four pulse, it will be easy for you to do this exercise. If not, go back to my Clave Consciousness lessons. If this track is easy for you, try playing the offbeats with one hand, tapping the beat with your foot and tap Clave with the other hand. In this way, it can become a drum set groove.

Track 8. Practice Groove – Slow
Lesson Length 5:08 min
Tumba, Conga, Quinto groove at at slow tempo for you to jam with, or practice any of the parts you’ve learned. I do not talk or count in this track, and I do briefly add in the key rhythm – Clave – at various points in the groove so you can check yourself.

Track 9. Practice Groove – Medium
Lesson Length 7:01 min
Tumba, Conga Quinto groove at a faster tempo. I count the four pulse for one cycle during the music so you can check yourself. Knowing where this “four pulse” is at all times keeps you aligned correctly to each part. This is important, since the parts can seem to pull on each other, and you need concentration to keep in the groove. After you practice this a few times, it becomes natural and you can easily articulate that pulse when you need to.

Track 10. High Conga Lesson
Lesson Length 1:45 min
In this lesson you’ll learn an additional part to the rhythm that makes the music richer and provides more ideas for improvisation. I teach it very slowly. This groove will fit with lots of other rhythms, it is a good basic pattern to have at your command. In Djesse Muloumbo we play it on a medium high conga. When playing with friends, if you don’t have enough players, you can leave this part out.

Track 11. High Conga Lesson with Clave
Lesson Length 1:42 min
In this lesson I show how this high conga part fits with Clave. There are several places in this combination of rhythms that will probably challenge you. Keep focus, listen deeply, follow me, and it will become obvious. If it becomes overwhelming or extremely difficult, take a break, listen from a distance, do something else with the track on in the background and let it seep in. If necessary, do this a couple of days in a row, with good rest in-between, and you will learn the combination.

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.

Track 13. Practice Groove 3
Lesson Length 6:44 min
This track is a groove of high conga with the bell and tumba at a nice slow tempo. You can copy the parts and play along, or add the high part or the main theme.

Track 14. Mix Minus Practice Lesson 1
Lesson Length 4:20 min
In this track I’ve created a “mix minus”. Each part will fade in and out and be combined with the others in different ways. Play a game by adding the missing part, to test your knowledge of the rhythm. The tempo is fairly fast and all the lesson elements from this program are included.

Track 15. Mix Minus Practice Lesson
Lesson Length 5:57 min
Faster Tempo – Changing Mix. Test yourself at this speed and play along with me, find the missing part or copy a part being played and get totally in sync with it. You can also make up your own variations on any of the parts, and see how well you can stay in the groove.

Track 16. Solo Lesson
Lesson Length 2:55 min
In this track I show you some of the solo variations I use on the high drum. You must have the basic high drum part “in your body” (test: can you recall the part from memory at any time, sing it and keep the four pulse so that it grooves?) I don’t break any of the variations down, it is up to you to listen, try and copy, and make up your own. This is similar to how many of my teachers worked with me – I had to listen, sing it to myself, and play. The stronger your internal version of the rhythm is, the closer your version on the drum will sound like mine.

Track 17. Vocal Ensemble
Lesson Length 2:41 min
In this fun lesson I sing all the parts of the rhythm and layer them in. Copy me and see if you can master percussive singing. I find this is the best way to learn, retain and transmit rhythms. Many cultures in the world use this method and it has direct impact on beatboxing. I created this track to summarize the entire lesson and to show how powerful it is to speak and sing these ancient patterns.

1 Djesse Muloumbo - Learn to drum

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Track 18. Intro to Yan Valu, our next Rhythm
Length: 3:03 min
Hear a sample of our next Rhythm, Yan Valu:

... 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.