How to Hand Drum on the Djembe: The Basics

Learning and practicing hand drumming is a valuable way for every percussionist to learn how to create wonderful sounds on every percussion instrument.

When you play timpani, snare drum, or xylophone for example you always have a stick between you and the instrument, so it’s important to have some experience in making a good sound with just your hand on a percussion instrument.

When you understand the technique necessary to make a quality sound just with your hand it brings you closer to the instrument and helps you to understand how to make a quality sound on the other percussion instruments when you’re playing with a stick or a mallet.

Watch this Video Lesson on How to Play Basic Djembe

What Are the Basics of Hand Drumming on the Djembe?

The Djembe is a drum from West Africa with a long and wonderful history. The drum is made in an hour glass shape with the shell made from a hard wood like mahogany and the head usually made from the skin of a goat. The Remo company makes djembes out of synthetic material that sound amazing and there are a lot of quality instruments available at reasonable prices.

Djembes are a great instrument to play if you’re interested in Drum Circles and they sound terrific when they’re played in a combo with other percussion instruments or to accompany other musicians from guitarists to bagpipers.

A Djembe is a popular drum that has a lot of different sounds and it’s a great instrument to explore your sound as a percussionist.

  • Open tones are produced with a relaxed flat hand striking the drum just off of center
  • High tones are made by striking the drum with your finger tips very near the edge of the drum

Practice playing both open and high tones on a djembe and watch this video for a brief djembe lesson.

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  1. PAUL DE WILDE says:

    Do you have any video’s for learning Djembé , Conga and/or Bongo ?
    If you do , I would like to buy one.
    Can you give me any information about this ?
    Thank you ver much.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    It is a nice and awesome video here to learn about drumming. I really like your tips. The one thing I want to add here for beginner drummers is that to start up with very basic setup. The reason behind this is that as a beginner you are not much aware about each drum and it’s symbols. So starting with basic set up can prove to be a wise and reasonable decision.

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