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Cajon joy / drumming magic

What is a cajon?

Yeah… it’s basically a box you sit on and hit like a drum.

Practice… practice… practice…

It should go without saying… the more you play your cajon, the better you will get. Practice will help you with your timing, and will also help you learn to get the exact sound you want. There is no substitute for practice.

A good starting length of time to practice each day is about a half hour or about 8 songs. Here’s a big YouTube playlist of songs you can use to play along to. I try to move at least 8 new songs to the top of the list each day, so you can just start the playlist from the top each day, but have different songs to practice to each day.

Why play a cajon?

Music is a powerful tool. Music is composed of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Rhythm is the part of music, as a drummer, that has always appealed to me. I believe rhythm is the “heart beat” of not just music, but life, and has great power. It’s also accessable to everyone at any time.

Everyone has experienced the joy of clapping along to a song. When you’re doing that, you’re drumming. Let me be clear… you’re already a drummer. Since you’re already a drummer, I hope to convince you to explore the power of drumming further, and use it’s power to make your life happier.

Add joy to your life

My approach to drumming is a meditative, and even “spiritual” approach. (Remember… we danced religion well before we prayed it.) The repetitive practice of counting; 1, 2, 3, 4 or 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, or even 1 da & da 2 da & da 3 da & da 4 da & da form a meditative background to push out the stress & worries of daily life, and provide a framework for further exercises with the hands. Hand patterns help you concentrate, which in itself is one of the foundations of happiness. Counting, hand patterns, and the music you play along with are all combined into a total experience. All this helps you eventually achieve something like what in modern psychology is called a flow state, what ancient Greeks referred to as an ecstatic state, and Buddhists refer to as the jhānas.

The goal of this approach is to learn to enjoy music to the point that you feel connected to, or part of the music. To have the feeling of “dancing with your hands”, and over time, your entire body, an experience that will give you a feeling of inner joy.

Cajons are affordable

When I got mine it cost about $40 and came with a case that let’s me carry it like a backpack, which is useful if you’re gonna be taking it out of the house for lessons or performances. It was on sale at the time, but I think I hit on a popular one because today they are selling for almost $60, but it’s still a model I can recommend at that price. a/o 4/19/2019 WOW… noticed today this cajon went up in price again to $68.12… I feel like a got a stock like Google or Facebook when it was cheap. How high can these cajon’s go? ☺

Here are some inexpensive full sized cajons I can recommend. Notice that all these are 20 or 21 inches tall. That means you can comfortably sit on them. Be careful not to buy a cajon you think you are going to sit on, only to find that it is the size of a shoe box. Not all cajons are made to be sat on, some are made smaller and meant to be… held in your hand? Just be careful that you are getting what you expect. I have not tried any 17” tall cajons. I’m almost 6 feet tall, and since my 20 inch cajon is very comfortable, I am hesitant to order one a full inches shorter. But… if you’re shorter, or find a 20” cajon too tall, give the 17” models a look.

Sawtooth ST-CJ120B Cajon Birch Wood with Padded Seat Cushion and Carry Bag (20” Tall 12” Wide 12” Deep)

Sawtooth Ash Wood Cajon with Maple Back and Sides, Includes: Seat Pad and Carry Bag (13” x 21” tall x 13”)

Sawtooth Satin Mahogany with Gloss Cherry Mahogany Back and Sides Standard Size Cajon (12” wide x 12” deep x 20” tall)

Latin Percussion Cajon (LP1428NY) (21” Tall x 13” x 12”)
     - LP cajon via Amazon