Instruments Taught


Learn by Instrument

If you want to learn a specific instrument, Total Rhythm offers training from absolute beginner to professional level in the following instruments: congas, chekere, djembe, pandeiro, caxixi, agogo bells.


Agogo (“Ah-go-go”) Bells

2-headed metal bell from Brazil (with African origins). Lesson plan designed to teach student how to move feet, play simple rhythms from Brazil, Africa and the USA. More advanced lessons incorporate soloing on the Agogo and adding songs/chants.


Caxixi (“Cah-she-she”)

Woven baskets made from gourd-shell bottoms and bamboo. Filled with dried beans or beads. From Brazil (with African origins). Lesson plan teaches movement with the caxixi, ability to play syncopated rhythms and sing simple melodies. Advanced lessons teach hand independence, soloing on the caxixi and specific rhythms: partito alto, samba, baioa, etc.


Conga Drums

Wooden drums with cowhide skins. Played sitting down or on stands. Originated in Cuba. Learn basic hand technique: open tones, slaps, bass and muff. Develop hand and foot independence. Learn rhythms from Cuba, Brazil, Africa and USA, ranging from simple to very advanced rhythms on multiple congas.


Djembe (“Jem-bay”)

Tapered drum from Africa. Play seated or standing (with strap). Learn basic hand technique: open tones, bass, slap, closed slap. Learn to move and sing while you play. Learn to be musical with the djembe. Work with rhythms from Guinea, Senegal, the Congo and the USA.


Pandeiro (“Pan-dare-oh”)

Small, circular hand-held frame drum with goat skin head and jingles. From Brazil. Learn basic hand technique: how to hold the pandeiro and play open, slap, muted and grace tones, finger rolls. Learn to move your body, play pandeiro and sing. Work with rhythms from Brazil: samba, partito alto, baiao, American funk and hip-hop.


Chekere (“Shek-er-aye”)

Dried gourd with beaded skirt. From Cuba (with African origins). The chekere is held in the hands much like a pitcher of water. It is moved back and forth between the hands to play rhythms. Learn the basic chekere sounds and how to be comfortable moving your body, playing chekere, and singing simple melodies. Work with rhythms from Cuba, Africa, Brazil, and America.