African Beats for Modern Music

by admin on April 17, 2012

Recently I hosted a workshop at Blue Ridge Music Therapy Center for teachers and counselors from a local school district.  They were educators I had worked with before, and they had requested a session on learning simple but sophisticated drum patterns that they could present to some of their students in a music appreciation festival.  I felt that it would be helpful to create a specific list of songs that they could experience and have a specific pattern attached to each song.  It was so much fun to see their expressions when first hearing each song and making comments like: “I know that singer!”, “I just listened to that on the radio”, “That songs is so beautiful”.  I provided most participants with a djembe, and a few with a tubano or conga drum.  After some warm-up exercises, we were ready to learn a few basic African rhythms using BASS and TONE sounds.  Here is a list of the first five songs I used in the workshop:

  • I’ll Stand by You by Carrie Underwood
  • Mercy by Duffy
  • Rumour Has It by Adele
  • Heart of the Matter by India.Arie
  • Firework by Boyce Avenue

*Become a Song Shop member and download a PDF of the African rhythms used for each song.

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