How to Prepare to Play the Djembe

Learn how to prepare to play the djembe from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.

Speaker 1: Before we even play the drum, we have to learn how to hold the djembe drum and what position to be in so that you can be comfortable to play for a long period of time. The first thing I do is I tilt the drum away from myself so that the sound can come out. If the drum is flat, there’s no sound. I tilt the drum away from me, but it’s going to fall, so I have to gently put my legs around the drum. It’s not a thigh master. You don’t have to sit here and squeeze it. You’ll make yourself tired. You want to gently cradle the drum. You can see my knees hold the drum and my legs come around the drum so that it’s comfortable and that the drum isn’t going from side to side. I’m not leaning from side to side. It’s straight forward, relaxed. I could sit like this for a long time.

Speaker 2: Also, when you hold the drum, you have to relax. If you’re not relaxing, you’re not going to get a better sound. The way I’m sitting, like this, I’m more relaxed, more comfortable. If I’m more relaxed, my sounds are going to come out.

Speaker 1: What about your arms and your shoulders?

Speaker 2: Your arms too. Make sure you don’t hold your arms when you start to play the drum, because if you hold them like this you’re not going to have a better sound. The more you relax your feel and your body, because there’s a body connection with the music. The way, you see how I’m relaxed here, I’m sitting like here, I’m relaxing. That way if I want to hit the bass, I only do use that bass. That way I’m relaxing.

Speaker 1: And you’re lifting your arms. You’re moving your arms. You’ll notice that my body is still. I’m not going side to side, but I’m lifting my arms up and down, and I’m staying center. Those are some tips on how to prepare yourself to play the djembe.