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Drumming magic / cajon joy

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

Why play a cajon?

Music is a powerful tool. Music is composed of rhythm, melody, and harmony. As a drummer, rhythm is the part of music that has always appealed to me. I believe rhythm is the “heart beat” of not just music, but of 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.

I also hold the view that learning to drum should be fun. That means never losing site of the fact that you’re learning to play drums so that you can make music. And that means we’ll spend a lot of time playing along to actual music. That means learning to drum will include a music appreciation element. Of course one day eventually you’ll have to spend some time working with the dreaded metronome, but… I take the approach that, if practice and playing isn’t fun and enjoyable, the student will simply give up and take up fishing or hockey instead. So… we’ll play along to and listen to a lot of music. And because music is awesome, that’s gonna be… fun.

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 to get the exact sound you want each time you strike the cajon. There is no substitute for practice. That’s good advice for pretty much anything in life, not just drumming.

A good length of time to practice each day, in the beginning, is about a half hour or about 8 songs. Here’s a big YouTube playlist of songs (also available on my home page via the “dance to the music” link) you can use to play along to. I move new songs to the top of the list regularly so you can start the playlist from the top and have different songs to practice to each day.

Learn for free

Still interested? Want to learn to play? Learn about free drum lessons.