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Introducing World Drumming

A Group Course for Beginners

Next course starts 1 May 2019.

‘Be patient with your drum, the night is long.’
– Zimbabwean proverb

‘Where I come from we say that rhythm is the soul of life, because the whole universe revolves around rhythm, and when we get out of rhythm, that’s when we get into trouble.’
Babatunde Olatunji

‘I had been looking for a course like this and am so glad I found it. Exceeded my expectations.’
– E. Donohue

Click on the tabs for information.

Course Description

Introducing World DrummingEvery culture on the planet has some form of drumming, and Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing World Drumming course is a practical, hands-on introduction and exploration of all manner of ‘membranophone’ instruments, or hand drums. Designed for absolute beginners, the course combines three essential elements to give participants a solid grounding in hand percussion from different traditions:

  1. Learning how to play various world percussion instruments, including djembes, congas and bongos.
  2. Exploring the commonalities and differences of African and Latin American drumming and rhythms.
  3. Illustrating their applications in contemporary music.

The course begins with the rhythms of the djembe, an instrument developed and played in the 12th century by an ethnic group called the Mandinke people in the Wassalon region, an area between Mali and upper Guinea. The djembe is usually played in groups, consisting of other djembes, two or three bass drums (called dunun, dun dun or djun djun) and other percussion such as shakers and bells. Djembes are the instrument of dance for social occasions such as births, funerals, marriages, rites of passage and the planting and harvesting of crops, all of which have their own songs, dances and rhythms.

We will go on to explore other African and Latin American instruments and rhythms, learn various hand drumming techniques and improve our rhythmic vocabulary through a combination of technical instruction, improvisation and ensemble skills, traditional ‘call and response’ aural learning and different phonetic systems.

All instruments are provided for use in the course, although it will be useful to have a hand percussion instrument in order to practice the rhythms and techniques at home.

This course covers Stage 1 of the New School’s ten-stage system of student progress and assessment, which culminates in a teaching or performing qualification (Stage 10) should the student progress that far. Participants who successfully complete the course can be issued with a certificate of completion of Stage 1. If you are taking the course, please let the school office know if you would like this certificate. See About Our Stage System for more information.

Have you enrolled in this course?
Download our Introductory Handout
for tips on how to get the most from it.

Introducing World Drumming is one of the New School’s group courses. We also offer private lessons in several hand percussion instruments, as well as drum kit, for students of all ages and skill levels. See Drums • Percussion Tuition for more information.

Techniques Covered

A video demonstration of some techniques covered in the course:

Brian Lynch

Brian LynchBrian received his BA degree from the National College of Art and Design and was first introduced to hand drumming while at college. Since then he has made numerous visits to West Africa to study drumming and its historical and cultural contexts, and he has had the pleasure and good fortune to live and study with a number of world-renowned musicians, including Famadou Konate, Sekou Keitá, Mamady Keitá, Nansady Keitá, Amara Kante and Mansa Camio. Brian is an active percussionist, and his extensive knowledge and experience has allowed him to play professionally with many different groups and projects – including Manden Express, Wassa Wassa, Komá and Foliba – at festivals and venues throughout Ireland and other European countries. As a teacher, Brian has worked with both children and adults at all skill levels. He has a particular interest in special needs teaching and has obtained additional qualifications in healthcare support and special needs education. He also both makes and repairs a range of hand percussion instruments.

‘Teaching teaches the teacher. And it never ceases to surprise me how much I can learn as a musician when I invest time into someone’s else’s gift or passion. If you can empower others through what you love, you’re on the right road.’


‘Great classes and even better teacher – very knowledgeable and gives attention to everyone in the group.’
– M. Baca

‘An incredible player and inspiring teacher!’
– A. Dermody

‘I had been looking for a course like this and am so glad I found it. Exceeded my expectations.’
– E. Donohue

‘A very positive experience and great teaching.’
– K. Goldbeck

‘Really enjoyed the course and learned so much.’
– S. O’Reilly

‘Loved every minute.’
– O. Seagrave

Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about it.


2018-2019 Third Term Course Schedule & Fee

9 weeks, 1 May – 26 June 2019
Wednesdays 7 – 8 pm

Tuition Fee: €180


Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee. Places are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. A number of our group courses fill in advance of their start dates, and early enrolment is recommended.


Purchasing this course as a gift?
Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.


Questions about the course?


What happens after the course?

Two weeks before the end of each Introducing course, participating students will be given options for continuing their tuition at the school if they’d like to do so. Although a continuation ‘Improvers’ course cannot generally be scheduled on the same day/time as the Introducing course, one can be arranged if enough students would like to continue and the teacher has timetable availability. Students can also continue their tuition with private (one-to-one) lessons or ‘partner’ lessons with another class member (see Tuition Options – Private • Partner • Small Group Lessons). We are happy to discuss these options with you.

Introducing World Drumming
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