Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. We teach drumming at many schools in the New England area. From hand drums, djembe, conga - to American Drum Set, we have a staff of teachers that are nothing short of amazing teachers. And, here at DrumConnection, we really care about your progress and have the best systems for teaching all types of learners. Give us a try and you will be very happy!
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. Brookline Adult and Community Ed
Hand Drumming for Beginners
Newton Community Ed
Hand Drumming for Beginners
Lexington Community Ed
Community Drumming for Faculty
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. If you are looking to get better at hand drumming, learn how to play in a band or just get together with friends, this is the place to be. Whether you don't know anything about drums or are a seasoned pro, we are here for you. Check us out!
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Years ago there were 2 djembe teachers in Boston - me and Ibrahima Camara. Now there are many. To get the real deal, the African connection to Guinea, Mali, Senegal and more you should, as I say, check us out. We are not into 'ego playing' (if you play great, cool, if you are learning, cool) we are into community and quality of the class experience and a fun, rewarding time.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Where do your drums come from? Do you import them? Do you make them? What about tuning or replacing skins, can you do that for me in a professional way? Will I feel comfortable at my classes with DrumConnection? Will my needs be met and if I want more, if I want to move faster, is there a track for me? If I want to just drum 'community style' do you have to sign up or can I just drop in?
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. When buying a drum... don't just buy one on the internet. If you come into our shop, you will quickly see that 2 drums that may look alike sound and play so differently. They feel totally different because the tree is different, the wood is different, every goat or cow is different, and the quality in assembly varies from one drum to the next. We have a full 30 day money back quarantee as well. Play before you plop down your hard earned cash!
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Drumming: I am a white guy from Boston but I teach African drums. Why? Because I love it so much. To do so, I studied, played and performed with the best. My master is Famoudou Konaté and I am a personal assistant for him. I also am a player and teacher for Mamady Keita, the most famous djembefola in the world.
I am friends and assist others as well, Billy Konaté, WADABA!, Sayon Camara is one go my teachers. The list is long. I have been drumming for over 50 years. I have been teaching almost as long. We have a teacher training program where you can get your drumming to soar!
Drums: We build our own drums in Guinea. We don't just 'import' drums, not at all. Working closely with the carvers every step of the way, we make sure that every drum meets our standards. We also service all drums at our FULL repair shop in Boston.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love working with individuals in the learning process. I like to find the simplest and fastest way to facilitate the students process in learning to drum. I also enjoy teaching large group classes! Tons of fun for me and therefore the students as well!
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Hand Drums - How do I get started with hand drums? Are class lessons better than private lessons? Why? What are the costs? Do I need to know music? I'm afraid I won't be able to easily drum; do you think that it is possible for me?
Decide what you can afford as Class Lessons are much less than Private Lessons and both are tons of fun. You will learn to drum in either system. You do not need to know music at all. We've never met anyone who can't play the drums:)
Drum Kit - Do I need to own a drum kit? How do I find one I can afford? How long will it take till I can play well?
No you don't need to start out on a kit, but soon, you will need to be able to practice on your own. We have a lot of suggestions that are doable. In a few weeks, you will feel like you can play quite a bit!
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I have thousands of stories. The ones that stand out are about healing through drums. The story about the 9 year old who couldn't play as well as his friends - he was sick for a week with the flu and had a high fever, when he returned he was able to play as well as ME. The learning of drumming when he was in a 'high-fever' state, worked its magic and played with his brain chemistry. It was amazing to experience for everyone at BB&N.
My second story about drumming and teaching is a good friend of mine who had a massive stroke. The physical therapy wasn't helping. Months were going by. A friend gave him some hand drums and be began to play everyday. Within a month ALL signs of his stroke had disappeared! Yes it is true. And if that wasn't enough, he then suffered a second stroke. When he woke up in the hospital he started playing bongos in bed and had no effects of the second stroke. Sound amazing? It is.
Drumming (and music in general) but especially left and right exercises found in drumming and to a lesser degree dance, has a profound effect on the brain. Please read the fine book, The Brain That Changes Itself and visit Doidge's website of the same name to get further info. It also means that children, infants, to older adults can experience better brain functioning through drumming. Plus.. it is just plain a blast!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. Making drums: If we paid the Africans what they should get paid making drums with us, a djembe drum would cost $4,000.- instead of $500.- But the economy doesn't currently work that way and though we pay the drum builders well, we are not able to sell drums at the price they deserve to be.
Please keep this in mind if you are truly looking at African made drums. Most drums aren't. Do you want your djembe to be made in China?!
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. It was over 50 years ago... I was raised on Main Street in the Boston area. The parades would march right by our house and the drums always stopped directly across from our living room. At the age of 4 I asked of drum lessons and soon I was studying with some of the top players in the world, like Famoudou Konaté, Mamady Keita, Wadaba!, Ibrahima Camara, Nansady Keita. Personal assistant for Famoudou Konaté and Mamady Keita. Jazz, rock and composition studies with Joe Morello, Carmine Appice, Fred Buda, Gary Chaffe, Gary Burton. New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music and the natural conservatory of Africa in Guinea - Conakry
At 12, I decided I wanted to be like my teachers so I went into teaching! My first job besides mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. I had about six students and learned how to drum better. When you can teach it, you really need to know it.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. Recently my friend Jess Smith came up to help me build up 20 djembe drums. It was a great experience. After Steve and I went to New York to get the drum shells at Air France, we refined the wood, resurfaced the bearing edges, coated the shells with 7 (yes, seven) natural tree oils to make them look the BEST they can and preserve them for centuries or longer.
We selected the best in Guinean goat hides and a few cow skins and built them up. You can see some of these drums at http://drumconnection.myshopify.com
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. DrumConnection is a 24/hr a day job for us! We never stop! Learning and communicating with customers, students every moment of everyday. We also communicate with other (very famous) drummers and educators around the world, every day! We also are in touch with folks on the ground in Africa where we continue to get much inspiration. We invite the Masters here! From Africa, as often as possible. No one does more for drumming than DrumConnection!
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. Rhythms are evolving all of the time and snapping back to the old ways as well. The basics remain the same; rhythm and feel and making it MUSIC not just drumming, is vital to your drumming experience. Try drumming with us and it just could change your life! Ask those who have.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. The most recent project was this week when we opened our DrumConnection up to Lexington Community Education with fun, lively and educational drumming after-school for the faculty in Lexington Public Schools, Massachusetts. A lot of fun and a great experience with real African drums and drumming in Lex!
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Private Lessons: Well it's not complicated at all but it varies. Private Lessons (PLs) with Alan Tauber are $65/hr or a 5-pac for $250.- to be taken within one year. The results will be that you will have the correct body positions and tone production with the smallest amount of effort. Even with one lesson!
Class Lessons: The prices vary depending upon length of semester, the location of the class and who the instructor is. Usually a semester is $99 to $240.- so there is quite a range. Check out our website www.drumconnection.com for all available classes this semester. We require registration for classes. No drop-ins. If you are not thrilled with your class, you may receive a full refund! We have trained over 10,000 students in 21 years.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Get the proper training. If you ever hear yourself saying that you have that rhythm in your pocket or now you have the sound you dreamed of... realize those are not truths. You can never stop learning. The masters say that if you keep your body pure, keep your heart open and be humble, then (and only then) will you be able to play djembe.
Also, I want to add that bad habits are hard to break so learn as much as you can about your body and hand positions from the start. This is my number one suggestion. Learn from the masters - that's why they are here to pass it on!
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. Knowledge. We are Boston's only hand drumming school and drum shop. We know drums. We practice and teach the music from Guinea, Mali and Senegal. You cannot get this info in any university in the Boston area, sorry to say.
We are the real deal and the number ONE professional drumming school in the New England area.
Other qualities: Patience, honesty, motivational support, achieving personal success whatever that means to you.
Through training to deal with almost all types of people and situations. Have trained rank beginners to super-professional players. We also are on auxiliary staff at Emerson Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital and currently working with the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.
To learn at the deepest levels, we believe in audio taping or video taping private lessons and provide that to our students when possible and warranted. We provide video support of drumming learned in classes.
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. Personally, I continue to learn by teaching and staying in touch with my Masters. I have been drumming for over 55 years but I still have a lot to learn:)
In our DrumConnection Store, we just implemented a quick check-out system so we can better serve our customers. We also opened a new studio just for the drum kit students! Video and full audio systems are being installed this week.