How to Play Djembe Warm-Up Exercises

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

Man: Before we learn the African rhythms let’s learn some warm up exercises on the djembe drum. This will help get you in tune with the rhythm and get yourself ready to play the African rhythms. One of the favorite things I like to play is something both for the right and both for the left. So I always start with a base because that’s your foundation. In between the bases I’m going to put two tones and then two slaps. So I’m learning how to alternate the sounds. I’m using all three sounds like this. Base, tone, tone, base, slap, slap. Watch.

Then I repeat. When I get happy I can play a little faster, even faster, and even faster. And that keeps me equal, both right and left, but every drummer has a different warm up. This is master drummer, Bemba Bangoura. He’s going to show a different one.

Bemba: Okay I’m going to show you very simple. I don’t want to go fast. I can go fast but I’m keeping it very simple. I can start with the tone, then I go to slap, then I can go to bass. Like me, if I can do two slap, two tone, two bass then I can do, then I’ll do tone, then I’ll do bass. Then if I put all that three sounds together I can do. Now if I want to go fast I can go. If I want to go more fast than that I can go. If I want to go very slow to let the people understand more I can go very, very slow. That’s a slap, then I can go my tone, then I can go my bass, that way it’s a very simple thing to have to exercise, how to move, how to find a way how to get in. Slap, tone, bass.

Man: And both of these exercises are using right and left, tone, slap, bass; and that’s going to teach you how to be very balanced in your playing.

Bemba: Yeah but hundred people, I know two hundred people djembe play they start with this. It’s hard to get somebody to play this. I mean you can find it but with two hundred, one million djembe start they play with this because right hand you eat with this, you write with this. It’s hard to find somebody to write with left hand. That’s why if you see somebody play djembe you always start with the. So this is going to be the second technique but this is the first technique how to start to play djembe.

Man: And that’s how you learn some warm-up exercises for the djembe.