Mali Djembe Course Progression

Foundations of Djembe

West African Rhythm (10 Hours)

Mali, the Djembe, Culture, History

Notation: 1-line staff, Box, 16th subdiv.

Malian Rhythm Patterns and the Pulse

Dansa (clave, cascara)

Suku (3 over 2 in 12-8)

Wassalonka (shortbell)

Maraka (longbell)

Sunu (Rhumba clave in 4-4 and 12-8)

Korejuga (9-8)

Identifying 4-4, 12-8, 3-4, 6-8, 9-8

Series 1 - Student Certification

(20 Hours)


Technique, Bass, tone

10 Basic Djembe Handpatterns

Playing the Konkoni

5 Konkoni patterns

Konkoni and djembe together

Technique: Adding the slap

5 Djembe Accompaniment


Series 2 - Apprentice Certification

(20 Hours)

10 Djembe Accompaniments

Djembe ensemble structure

Djembe lead and konkoni

Adding Djembe Accompaniment

The Malian Djembe Trio

Four Rhythm Families

Teaching Structure:

  Call, Signature phrase, Goloba

Mastering the djembe and konkoni,

  leading the ensemble for the

  rhythms Suku, Dansa, Maraka, Fula




Series 3 - Djembefolla Certification

(50 Hours

Building the repertoire

Call, Signature phrases, family

   phrases, Goloba

Suku, Numu, Wolosso, Geranke, Ferabanka

Dansa 1, Dansa 2, Madan 1, Madan 2, Komo

Maraka, Sunu 12-8

Fula Foly, Wassalonka


Kayes Sunu, Kaarta Sunu, Bamako Sunu


Dunun and Bell patterns

The four-piece djembe ensemble


Students are encouraged to bring an audio recorder and a notebook. This coursework is arranged with the expectation that students spend at least 3 hours per week practicing outside of class, as well as an hour each week of private instruction.

As with any educational pursuit, a properly arranged curriculum provides for greater understanding, a clear opportunity for learning, and a more complete experience. Just as a beginning piano student doesn't learn the most complex forms of concert music, neither should beginning djembe students try to emulate the most advanced djembe styles and arrangements. Preparing oneself in the roots of the djembe ensemble and the Malian repertoire means the djembe student will arrive to learn with the African teacher prepared for advanced study and respectful of their position as a master musician.

 Other music links below

West African Music and Culture Education

Website highlighting Djembe teachers

around the globe

Stage Performances

Adult & Child Djembe Classes

Djembe Workshops

Family Interactive Workshops

Vagabon Tribe - Rock & Blues with a world Groove