Djembe classes at St. Albans Dive Club

[ Drumming is fun! ]High energy African drumming and song on Thursday nights

Since 2013 I've been teaching weekly drumclasses in Hertfordshire, where you can learn traditional rhythms from West Africa and sing the joyous songs they accompany. As well as djembe we play dun duns, percussion and sometimes Ghanaian drums. You can drop in any week, but you'll get the most out of it with regular attendance.

Where?

We have a great venue: St. Albans Sub Aqua Club, located in the clubhouse of an old Victorian swimming baths! (Yes, that actual one! :-) It's easy to find, opposite St. Peter's School on Cottonmill Lane, AL1 1HJ within walking distance down the hill from the town centre and both railway stations.

There's plenty of on-street parking available (free after 6pm), but the small Dive Club car park only has a few spaces, so please leave them for disabled people and anyone bringing lots of big drums. (In summer it also gets busy with canoeists unloading.) We can't use the outdoor pool, but instead we play in The Lecture Room.

When?

We meet on Thursday evenings, with the classes for various levels starting at 8pm and ending at 10pm. We welcome new members any week, so come along when you can, at 8pm if it's your first time. We'll pause for a short break from 9:00-9:15pm to chat, so bring a drink if you like.

Our last session before Christmas is on 19th December; we miss out 26th December and 2nd January, and then resume on Thursday 9th January 2019. Any other weeks where the class is not happening will be announced here and also on our (low-traffic) mailing list which is sent to regular attendees who want to be kept informed of dates and other local drumming-related events/news. Here's a printable flyer if you have a noticeboard to publicise the sessions.

Join us

Due to new GDPR laws, I've streamlined the mailing list to keep it easier to administer so it stays quick (and thus free of charge) to run it. We get so many "gym members" who sound very keen but never actually turn up. So now to save all my wasted time, I'm only adding folk to the mailing list once they've come along more than once and look like they will continue. Until then, just turn up at 8pm; anyone can always check subscription dates and see any cancelled sessions. And remember to let me know in advance if you'd like to borrow a drum.

Levels

The sessions are structured so that everyone gets some focus on their level of playing ability. Please note that we've now changed the order of the sessions, so I can program up the Intermediate players with the bassline parts ready to support the Beginners and Improvers when they arrive. If you're not sure which category would benefit you most, just come at 8pm.

Times for different level players
Level Arrive at Leave at Focus time
3 7:00pm 10:00pm 7:00-8:00pm
0+1 8:00pm 9:15pm 8:00-8:45pm
2 8:00pm 10:00pm 8:45-10:00pm

Children

[I no longer run the parent & child classes from 5:45-6:45pm. See this page for details about children's classes.]

As long as they are keen players (not just being brought along due to lack of childcare at home) and can behave maturely, older children aged 12 and above are welcome (but not younger, as it changes the energy), accompanied by a parent. I also sometimes teach separate groups for younger children aged 7-11.

Cost

This cost includes use of dun duns, but djembe hire is £1 extra (after your first week), so please let me know a day in advance so I know to pack a spare drum for you, or just turn up at 8pm any week if you have your own.

Subscribers

To encourage regular attendance which leads to faster progress, I also offer reduced prices to frequent attendees for 4-week blocks paid for in advance, at a cost of £36, saving £16 each month (please add on £1/week djembe hire as well). Sometimes when there are five weeks in a month, we go with a 5-week block, and then you can choose to pay £40 for all five weeks for even greater savings, or £36 for three/four if you can't make it every time. Or if ever we just do three weeks, subs are £30 (but this is not just for when you can only do three weeks in a month).

Subscription dates for Winter 2019/2020
Month Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
October 3rd 10th 17th 24th
November 31st Oct 7th Nov 14th 21st
December 28th Nov 5th Dec 12th 19th
January 9th 16th 23rd 30th

This saves you money over the single weekly drop-in payment: basically the idea is that even if you can only make it to three weeks out of four, then it's still cheaper to subscribe. Please note that payments are not carried forward to next month if you happen to miss a week (unless I have to cancel a session you paid for), but are just for the dates above.

If you join us at the start of a month, then advance payment can be decided upon at the end of your first session; if you love it, go for it! Or if you're not sure that you can commit, or if you join in mid-month, just keep paying weekly until subscriptions are due next month.

Your support is gratefully recognised and makes for a more cohesive group. By becoming a subscriber you are showing your support and you know that the group will be running even in your absence, as we can't run on thin air.

"I just wanted to say I've found playing in the group so helpful not just to up my Djembe skills, but also to practise focusing on my rhythm while lots of other rhythms are going on. This is also helpful for when I'm learning to play drumkit, as it trains my brain to keep the different parts of the beat separate. I also love your highly energetic and fun teaching style and how you are able to build up a new rhythm in a very systematic way which makes it easy to learn - not to mention the hilarious words to the rhythms! And finally I love this fun-loving, friendly and welcoming bunch of people you've brought together and how you've created a 'family culture' where everyone feels accepted and valued and it's safe to risk making mistakes. Well done!" - Sigrid

> > > Frequently Asked Questions