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African music - where to start?

Discussion in 'Music' started by lemonthelime, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. I am teaching African music after xmas and, having never taught this before, am a bit at a loss as to where to start. They have to cover the following in the unit:
    Master drummer
    Culture and role of music in African society
    Rhythm cycles
    CAll and response

    Now, whilst I understand things like rhythm cycles and call and response, I am struggling with find simple African pieces they could perform that reflect these. I am also looking for an interesting way to introduce all the info about culture and society other than worksheets/powerpoints. Finally what is the master drummer??
    Any hints/tips on teaching this or resources you could share would be great. I have about 6 or 8 djembes and an African xylophone to work with.
     
  2. I am teaching African music after xmas and, having never taught this before, am a bit at a loss as to where to start. They have to cover the following in the unit:
    Master drummer
    Culture and role of music in African society
    Rhythm cycles
    CAll and response

    Now, whilst I understand things like rhythm cycles and call and response, I am struggling with find simple African pieces they could perform that reflect these. I am also looking for an interesting way to introduce all the info about culture and society other than worksheets/powerpoints. Finally what is the master drummer??
    Any hints/tips on teaching this or resources you could share would be great. I have about 6 or 8 djembes and an African xylophone to work with.
     
  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

  4. Hi, lemonthelime,
    All of these things are included in my
    African drumming workshops and courses for schools. If you are within
    100 miles of my base in Yorkshire I would be pleased to give you a quote
    for coming to your school to lead some sessions. I can bring enough
    African drums for a whole class, not just djembes but also djundjuns and
    other associated percussion instruments and, if you wish, drums from
    other African cultures too. Students learn while and by doing -
    definitely more fun and more memorable than a powerpoint!
    If you
    want to read some comments from TES posters who have booked me, please
    see my thread on the marketplace forum. For more info, please email me:
    b.ayengio@yahoo.co.uk
     
  5. Thanks for the suggestions. Very useful. Am a bit far away to take you up on your offer unfortunately b.ayengio.
     
  6. crenwick

    crenwick New commenter

    We do an African Drumming scheme at the school where I work and for the drumming I make up the rhythms! We use a box grid with numbers 1 to 8 across the top and put a X in each box - one X is one hit of the drum. We also use XX for a double hit (so like crotchets and quavers). I usually work towards 4 parts, A, B, C and D (A is always the simplest and D the most difficult). I can't really show you an example of here (I tried and failed), but I would have part a doing beats 1, 3, 5, 7, part B doing 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, part C and D would use some XXs as well and build on that. You can then get the kids to compose their own four part rhythms.

    We do this with year 7, so it largely depends on who you are teaching, but I hope it helps!
     
  7. Forgve my saying so, but that isn't very like African drumming though, Crenwick!
     
  8. bod99

    bod99 New commenter

    LemontheLime, there's a great book in the Music Express range for year 7 on African Music. It's book 3 - Musical Cycles West Africa. It'll explain African drumming AND give you resources for performing and appraising. There's songs and videos as well as drum patterns. Highly recommended.
     
  9. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe New commenter

    there are some ideas for rhythms here http://www.african-drumbeat.co.uk/new-rhythms/SHIKO.htm

    If you subscribe there are more.

    Essentially what I do is a bit of call and response (we have 30 Djembes). Teach them a few rhythms and combine them as poly rhythms. The master drummer is the 'conductor' if you like who controls the performance. He can 'cue' different sections of the music with a 'cue' rhythm.

    I break the main rhythmic section up with free improvised solos.

    I also use cow bells and shakers (gourds)

    We also have ago at learning the Agbadza (you can find this on you tube) which I do have notation for in the style mentioned above. I know its not authentic but its a difficult rhythm and helps to learn it.

    We also program this on Cubase trying to find suitable General Midi sounds to replicate it.

    In addition I het them to do some internet research and produce some power point presentations.

    Some useful written work resources here http://www.musicatschool.co.uk/year_9/african.htm
     
  10. There's nothing inauthentic about Agbadza, and there's nothing wrong with using any kind of notation you find useful.
     
  11. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe New commenter

    I meanrt the notation is not authentic not the Agbadza.
     
  12. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe New commenter

    I meant the notation is not authentic not the Agbadza.
     
  13. tanbur

    tanbur New commenter


    While on the Tanbur website your students could:
    <ul style="margin-top:0in;"><li class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;tab-stops:list .5in;">have interactive music fun mixing and imitating Abadja rhythms from Ghana - PLAY 1<li class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;tab-stops:list .5in;">create and record thumb piano melodies and follow the PBS link to Swahili folk tales &ndash; PLAY 1<li class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;tab-stops:list .5in;">listen to the national anthem of Tanzania, Swahili with English translation - SONGS 2<li class="MsoNormal" style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;tab-stops:list .5in;">use NKOSI SIKELEL&rsquo;I AFRIKAexplore the African Rain Forest &ndash; LISTEN 1[/LIST]Further suggestions for links to update the Tanbur website are always welcome. Also, please contact me if you find a broken link.
    David, Tanbur Admin

     

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