African Drumming for primary schools and early years settings

In our primary school drumming lessons we provide a drum for every participant in a lively and engaging session. Primary school students are taught authentic rhythms by a skilled African practitioner.

We work hard to avoid the stereotype and bring a richer deeper understanding. Practitioners can, if you wish, discuss their culture and society as the sessions develop.

A workshop in your primary school can be fully participatory for all students, alternatively you can also use assemblies and other touch points to include performance from your visiting practitioner.


Many key stage two and three classes will work towards a performance at the end of the day. But as you can see in our videos can even be done with younger pupils!


Our skilled and highly experienced team are all Africans and will teach rhythms from Sene-Gambia, Guinea or Ghana - depending on where they are from!


The workshop will be authentic, dynamic and energetic.  Hire of 30 djembé comes as standard with each booking, more can be available on request -  allowing classes to be collapsed so we can teach more students, where space is available.


This dynamic workshop is an introduction to the energetic style of West African drumming. It is one of our most popular workshops with 100% participation!


Djembé  are fantastic for getting fast results! Originating from west Africa these drums are familiar to all our practitioners. They have sonorous tonal qualities and are relatively simple to play, meaning your class can quickly work on a hypnotising beat! Every participant will have a djembé for the entire session, they will learn a piece aurally (as your practitioner learnt it). Children will respond to aural and visual queues and will have the opportunity to perform a solo. Younger children may use the drum to imitate animals as part of a story.


Kpanlogo are Ghanaian drums, originally played by the Ga and now played all across Ghana. They are highly versatile and can be played both with sticks and hands. Traditionally they are played in groups of six drums, with great tonal and pitch variety between the drum sizes. Complex polyrhythms make up the beat. This workshop is much more suited to Key stage two students working with one practitioner for a full day.


Drumming workshops will be taught with the song that accompanies that rhythm, commonly in a call and response format. The primary drumming workshop can be supplemented with a number of other instruments to make up the rhythm. In addition to the 30 djembe each practitioner has with them as standard; the cow bell which forms the frame for the tune, the shaker, xylophone and the Dun Dun base drum.


Sample Timetable with one class



Relationship to the National Curriculum


Key Stage 1 Music


1.1 Students will use their voices expressively and creatively by singing a call and response song that accompanies the beat


1.2 Students will play untuned musical instruments musically. Tuned musical instruments such as goji guitar can be available.


1.3 Students must listen with concentration and understanding to the rhythm, learning to respond to aural cues from the master drummer to start and end the drumming


1.4 All students will have the opportunity to perform a solo, responding the aural cues from the master drum


Key stage 2 Music


1.1 Students will learn and sustain a piece of traditional music including drums, bells, shakers, dun dun and possibly song


1.2 Students will play sustained solos


1.3 Students will respond promptly and accurately to aural cues from the master drummer to start, finish and change pace and/or rhythm during the performance


1.6 Students will have an understanding of the history of their drum and its place within the society and context of the practitioner teaching them


In addition to the music this workshop also enhances global learning, the valuing of diversity and British values.

Learning outcomes


All students will...

Experience playing base, tone and slap on a djembé drum

Sing a call and response song

Enhance rhythmic skills

Develop listening skills


Most students will...

Learn a djembé rhythm

Learn a call and response song

Learn to work in an ensemble and respond to Changes in the music

Develop confidence through performing to the school and/or parents

Enhance improvisation skills


Some students will....

Use the rhythms they have been taught as the basis for further complex solo improvisation

Hold a rhythm and sing a melody in synchronisation



How Can We Combine Workshops?


In all the standard drumming workshops song, movement and storytelling may be used depending on the needs of your class.


Drumming workshops for schools can utilise props and outfits made during textile or our art and craft sessions.


Storytelling and song can be used as part of the sessions to engage students and to ensure they leave the session with an even deeper understanding of Ghanaian culture.


Students working towards a final performance can collectively display the dance, drumming rhythms and clothing made if wished.

Timetabling a Workshop


One practitioner can offer six sessions with 30 students in each session throughout the day.

Or one class or year group could explore drum, song, dance and art all in one day!

Guidance for sessions times, however we are happy to work a timetable to fit your school day

Early Years: 30 minutes per session

Key Stage 1: 30-45 minutes per session.

Key Stage 2: 1 hour per session.


What Can We expect?


  • A truly authentic, uplifting, cultural drumming experience - not just drum beats
  • A CRB/DBS checked, insured and talented cultural ambassador from one of the most experienced teams in the UK
  • African drummers for schools who offer a responsive and tailored experience that can be adapted to meet your needs
  • An instrument for each participant
  • A brief history and cultural context for drumming workshop; the instruments and the rhythms
  • Call and response song and some dance may be used alongside storytelling, depending on the needs of your students
  • A fun and engaging drumming workshop for your school



£385 Full Day (Max 6 hours)

£320 Half Day (Max 3 hours)

This is teaching time. Please note set up and break down is not charged but practitioners would be very grateful for help from the school!

Plus travel expenses and VAT

African Drumming for schools