Remembering How To Drum

Remembering How To Drum (2004)
Studio Canal
Extras: Warm-Ups, Practice Loops, Interview and much more

’Everyone’s a drummer, ’ Djembe drum instructor Michael Taylor says in this new DVD production and I am inclined to believe him. It is only logical as the core of every living and breathing being is the heartbeat, a steady drumbeat that accompanies us all our life.

In this instructional video, Taylor teaches viewers how to play the African Djembe drum, and he does so in a fashion that should be accessible to anyone with an interest. He includes warm up Yoga exercises for relaxation as well as very basic instructions how to produce the different sounds of the drum by the way you play it. He is detailed and conscientious to make sure he is bringing his descriptions across very clearly. He spends considerable time on this segment, as it is for obvious reasons, the most important part of the playing the drum, and accompanies it with close up shots of the hands, as well as slow enactments so that viewers have a clear idea what he is doing. As a result anyone should be able to produce the bass, tone and slap tones accurately of the drum within minutes.

He then goes into explaining additional playing techniques, also using multiple angels to give viewers a look at his playing from different points of view. Here he makes sure students get the first feel for a beat and rhythm and he gradually steps it up. As a result students will learn technique while they immediately hear and feel how their technique creates more captivating rhythms and patterns. He also uses a few very interesting ways for players to understand the importance of the left and right hand, the elements that make up a rhythm and rounds it out with a fun Q&A session that is not at all what you may expect, designed to distract your mind to make sure you are embodying the rhythms.

A section with various rhythms to learn and practice is making up another big segment of the release. It will help students to become more accomplished and interested in more complex playing patterns, excited about the wonderful music they create. These exercises are graded for beginners, intermediate and advanced players so that everyone will find something exciting to play along with.

Another section takes a look at drum ensembles, which role each drum plays and how the elaborate rhythms of ensembles are created.

The DVD is rounded out with a bit of history on the Djembe drum, the proper maintenance and tuning of the drum, as well as a 13-minute performance of the Holy Goat Ensemble. Additionally some extensive interview footage is included as well in which Michael Taylor discusses multiple aspects of drumming, adding to the understanding of the art.

’Remembering How To Drum’ comes in a fullscreen presentation. The image quality is unspectacular and shows some limitations of the production, mostly in the form of chroma noise, which indicates it was originally recorded on fairly low end equipment. Since this is an instructional video about drumming, I feel it’s not relevant, though, and it certainly is never so bad as to be distracting. The audio is presented as clean and clear Stereo track without problems.

’Remembering How To Drum’ is a very fascinating DVD and it made me want to pick up a drum right then and there to play along and learn. It is infectious, I have to admit, from the first second you hear Taylor play a few beats, and it amazes how complex and driving the rhythms can be with only a single drum. So, if you want to do something a little different for a change and maybe learn an instrument that is easy to learn, but offers great rewards, Djembe drumming may just be it. It has a very harmonious and tribal feel to it that is just the perfect counterbalance to today’s hectic lifestyle. Taylor makes for a great instructor here and as I said, I’m intrigued. I may just go and buy me a Djembe drum right now.