World Rhythms: Drumming, Strumming & Singing Music
from West Africa, Brazil
& the Caribbean

September 23December 15, 2019

This course helps music educators boost their world music and hand-drumming units by providing high-quality instruction and guidance in the areas of drumming technique, instrument identification, traditional rhythms, drumming ensembles, and styles. Participants will learn about a variety of common instruments, such as congas, bongos, cajon, djembe, dundun, claves, maracas, and more. Learn how to use basic techniques to play genre-specific rhythms, both within traditional ensembles and when creating original drumming arrangements. This course includes several traditional songs from the Caribbean, Brazil, and West Africa in native languages, arrangements with chord accompaniment, and suggestions for meeting students social and emotional needs through music-based experiences, as informed by a board-certified music therapist.

This course serves as a primer for the on-campus World Rhythms summer course where the main focus in on learning techniques, playing rhythms, performing in ensembles, and getting one-on-one hands-on experience. This course is recommended for any music educator who wishes to create a stronger relationship with world drumming and music, especially when using authentic instruments and rhythms from different regions.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify, by sight and sound, a wide variety of common drums and percussion instruments.

  • Be able to categorize and arrange instruments into genre-specific groups.

  • Identify universal and genre-specific rhythmic elements that are key in world drumming.

  • Develop a personal education plan to develop personal drumming and rhythmic skills.

  • Sing traditional songs in native languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Malinke).

  • Apply principles of percussion arranging in the creation of classroom materials.

  • Build a catalog of world music resources to share with their students.

  • Leverage the potential of music to help meet the emotional and social needs of students.

  • Identify resources to help meet the needs of special learners.

Instructor: Kalani Das, MT-CC

Kalani_Das_headshotKalani Das is a world percussion specialist with more than 30 years of professional experience. He is a certified Orff Schulwerk educator, a board-certified music therapist, and a requested presenter at conferences worldwide. Das has worked with music legends Barry Manilow, Yanni, Kenny Loggins and Rod Stewart. He is the founder of the DCM approach to community music making and a member of the Music Therapy Drumming training team. Das has written nine books and produced numerous instructional DVDs and music CDs. He presents workshops, retreats and residencies for students, teachers, therapists and the general public. More information can be found at and

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288