Monica's Schedule 2015

Here is an update on upcoming classes for 2015:

Beginners Drumming:
Wednesdays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm at Native Sons Hall, Courtenay Jan 21 - Mar 11 (register 250 338 1000 or 250 338 5371)
Tuesdays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm at the Sportsplex, Willow Point, Campbell River Jan 13 - Mar 17 (register 250 286 5307)
Thursdays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm at Comox Rec Centre  Jan 15 - Feb 19 (register 250 339 2255)

Intermediate/Advanced Drumming:
Mondays, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm at Native Sons Hall, Courtenay Jan 19 - Mar 16 (register 250 338 1000 or 250 338 5371)
Tuesdays, 6:30 - 7:30 pm at the Sportsplex, Willow Point, Campbell River Jan 13 - Mar 17 (register 250 286 5307)
Sundays, 4:30 - 5:30 pm  at the Royston Community Hall, Royston Jan 11 - continuing (end date TBA) register at the door

Duns (Bass Drums):
Sundays, 5:30 - 6:00 pm at the Royston Community Hall, Royston Jan 11 - continuing (end date TBA) register at the door

Ensemble Drumming Class:
Sundays, 6:00 - 7:00 pm at the Royston Community Hall, Royston Jan 11 - continuing (end date TBA) register at the door

Balafon Classes: TBA stay tuned!

Drums Alive! :
Wednesdays, 7:00 - 8:00 pm at Native Sons Hall, Courtenay Jan 21 - Mar 11 (register 250 338 1000 or 250 338 5371) AND a morning class coming up TBA!
Thursdays, 7:00 - 8:00 pm at Comox Rec Centre  Jan 15 - Feb 19 (register 250 339 2255)

New Video - Drumming in the Comox Valley!

Check out this video made by Shane Philip at my annual Solstice/Potluck/Drumming Fundraiser - it's awesome! And please share - the more people that hear about drumming, the more will be inspired to join in on the fun! And by the way - we raised enough money to support a young woman's leadership training in Myanmar for 2 years and beyond: thanks for your generosity and wonderful spirits, everyone!




You don't want to miss this one! A great opportunity to learn from a master djembefola and griot from a long line of storytellers!! (FMI on Koca and Sasha go to 

August 17th, Royston Hall, West African Drum and Dance with (my teacher and good friends) Kocassale Dioubate (Koca) and Sasha Belle

West African Doundoun Rhythms with Kocassale Dioubate (2:30 - 3:30 pm)
The doundouns, large bass drums played with sticks and accompanying bells, carry the base-line and are the foundation of many West African rhythms, and could be compared to the heartbeat in a living creature. Ground yourself, and get into these deep drum beats in this fun workshop. Learn the 3 different complimentary parts of the doundouns (the smallest and highest the kenkeni, the biggest and deepest the doundoun, and the leader of the pack the sangba) which together create a full 'doundoun' rhythm. No experience necessary! Accommodated to all different skill levels and open to people of all ages! Bring your own dun, or reserve a rental dun ($5) in advance. 

West African Djembe Drumming with Kocassale Dioubate (3:45 - 4:45 pm)
Learn and explore traditional West African rhythms with djembefola (master drummer) Kocassale Dioubate, born and raised in Guinea - also the birthplace of the djembe drum - in this fun and playful non-competetive workshop. Learn different polyrhythms and the different overlaying parts of which they consist, including accompaniments and lead, as well as work on your basic and soloing techniques. Connect with your inner rhythm, to rumble, rattle, and roll your day to day stresses away!! No experience necessary! Accommodated to all different skill levels and open to ages 14 and up! Bring your own drum, or reserve a rental djembe ($5) in advance. 

West African "Makuru": 'Dance of Celebration' with Sasha Belle (5:00 - 6:00 pm)
Let loose with this fun & energetic dance workshop, guaranteed to get you sweating and lift your spirits! Learn some basic movements and postures of Guinean dance, and take home a full choreographed sequence of movements particular to the joyful Makuru rhythm, a rhythm of celebration, and sometimes courtship, traditionally danced by young women in village ceremonies and African street parties. Now, in modern day Africa, although traditionally feminine, this rhythm is popular among both genders and thus dance choreographs are appropriate and fun for all. No experience necessary! Open to people of all genders and ages!
(NB: OK, OK - so I've been telling you all along that the Makuru is the men's dance part of the Yankadi/Makru…..apparently this may not always be the case! Sasha promises to explain how traditions vary from place to place!)

West African "Doundounba" : 'Dance of the Strong Men' with Kocassale Dioubate (6:15 - 7:15 pm)
Learn the basic movements and postures, as well as a short choreographed sequence of movements, of the style used to perform this West African dance, traditionally used in village ceremonies and now very popular in modern-day West-African street parties. Traditionally danced by men as a display of their physical strength, beauty, and capability, this particular dance incorporates many masculine postures and movements - however, in modern Guinea this is a favourite for many, and probably the most popular rhythm danced enthusiastically by both men and women, boys and girls! No experience necessary! Open to people of all genders and ages! 

COST: very reasonable!!!

$20 for one of Koca's workshops, $35 for any 2 of his workshops, or $45 for all 3. Sasha's dance workshop $15. Or all 4 workshops for $60!

All of this fun will be followed by a potluck dinner and possible jam! 

Koca often has drums to sell. If you are interested in an authentic West African made djembe, please let me know and you can also see them on their website; there are other instruments there as well. If you are interested in a particular drum, or style of drum, you can contact Koca and Sasha and they can arrange a further "pre-viewing" of the drum with more photos, etc. 
Also, please indicate if you are interested in having your current djembe tightened and checked out by Koca - TIME PERMITTING (and depending on how his hands are feeling at the end of the day), he may be able to do this for a fee

PRE-REGISTRATION and PAYMENT is absolutely necessary for this workshop.
Please contact me to secure your spot!

Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear and experience authentic West African style drumming and to have fun doing it! And be prepared with water bottles and towels if you're going to dance! WOW!
Hello Drummers and Rhythm Enthusiasts!

With a very successful, exciting and FUN drum camp behind us, we are ready to start thinking about more opportunities to drum over the summer while regular classes are not happening.

In August, three chances to pull out the drums and get into the groove!

August 10th, through Courtenay Recreation, a free taste of DRUMS ALIVE! and African Hand Drumming (for newbies). So if you've never tried out Drums Alive! before (combination of fitness class/dance and drumming - on huge balls with sticks!), this is your chance to get a taste. The drumming class is meant as an intro to hand drumming for folks who haven't taken classes with me before - so tell your friends and neighbours to come out and give it a try! The fun starts at 10 am - phone CRA @ 250 338 1000 FMI and to pre-register. Space limited.

August 10th, Royston Hall, 6 - 7 pm - Monica's Summer Drum Class, everyone welcome (but we will not be reviewing beginner material). Another opportunity to get into the groove; we will be working on putting 3 of our favourite rhythms together in a fun arrangement. Drop in, suggested $10 min.

August 17th, Royston Hall, West African Drum and Dance with (my teacher and good friends) Kocassale Dioubate (Koca) and Sasha Belle


DRUM CAMP with Jordan Hanson JULY 25 - 27

Another wonderful opportunity to drum coming up end of July - and believe me, you won't want to miss this one!! This will be the first time that Jordan Hanson of Drum Victoria is offering his Drum Camp here in the Comox Valley. Let's hope it's an annual event!
Jordan will be offering workshops in areas that we don't usually cover in classes here: krin (wooden log drums), hip hop style drumming, Burundi and Burkini beats and balafon. As well, you can hone your skills on the duns (bass drums) and practice some djembe improv. More importantly, all levels are welcome - so even if you haven't drummed much before, you can join in on the fun!
Follow this link FMI:

Upcoming Latin Drumming and Marimba Workshops with Robin Layne

On July 6th at the Royston Community Hall, well-known percussionist and marimba master Robin Layne returns to the Comox Valley to offer workshops to both beginner rhythm enthusiasts and more experienced drummers.
"I am looking forward to returning to the Comox Valley for another round of drum workshops and am especially excited to bring some marimbas along to share with workshop participants.  The marimba is one of my favourite instruments to play because it combines rhythm and melody and the sound  makes everyone feel happy!" Robin recently stated. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to experience this joyful sound while learning music from Africa and Latin America on this beautiful instrument. As well, there will be hand-drumming workshops for those new to drumming and for more advanced students.
In the Introduction to Latin Drumming workshop from 1:30 - 2:30 pm (designed for those who are newer to playing hand drums or complete beginners), participants will learn how to improve their drum sound, increase their independence and speed and get an introduction to Latin rhythms such as marcha from Cuba and samba-reggae from Brazil. From 2:45 - 3:45 pm, participants in the Marimba Workshop will learn how to play a scale and an arpeggio on the marimba while practicing a song in the tradition of Zimbabwean marimba music. "One of the greatest things about playing the marimba is that there is a part for everyone, and playing in a group is extremely fun!", says Robin. Space in this workshop is limited to 6 participants. 
And finally, from 4 - 5 pm in the Intermediate/Advanced Latin Drumming Workshop, designed for people who have experience playing drums and making music, the focus will be on the traditions of Rumba music from Cuba and working as an ensemble to learn how to put all the pieces together. Describing this workshop in more detail, Robin states: "The rumba will often have 6-10 drummers and singers and 3-4 dancers in a group. We will cover guanguanco, which has three interlocking drum parts, clave, shekere, and cascara. Participants will learn solo phrases, a break into and out of the rhythm and how to have conversations between the drums." Time permitting, Robin will also teach a simple choro and a dance step that accompanies the rumba. 
Robin believes that music and drumming are about building community and  always loves coming to Comox because of the wonderful, strong rhythm community to be found here. Come out and take a workshop or two and join in on the  potluck and drum jam for all participants planned the end of the day (5:30 - 7:00pm). Individual workshops are $25, any two for $40 and pre-registration is necessary. FMI on Robin Layne, please visit www.robinlayne.ca and FMI on these exciting upcoming workshops and to pre-register call Monica, local African drumming instructor and drum circle facilitator, at 250.338.1444 or emaildrumdeva@gmail.com

Drumming is good for body and soul!

These days the ancient sound of African djembe drums can be heard anywhere from outside office buildings to parks to the inside of school gymnasiums. People have discovered the amazing healing powers of drumming and are reaping the many benefits of “getting into the groove”.
The current proponents of drumming in community are no longer shamans, but more likely drum circle facilitators, music teachers, fitness instructors, psychotherapists and counselors – to name but a few. Indigenous peoples have always incorporated drumming into celebrations, rituals and healing; now this ancient wisdom is being cultivated and used to spread joy, create community, relieve stress, enhance spiritual, emotional and physical well-being and even to treat many modern illnesses.
It may seem unusual to think that one of the best antidotes to many of the pressures of our modern world comes in the form of a drum, but scientific studies - by renowned psychoneuroimmunologist Barry Bittmann, for example - have proven that aside from the spiritual and social benefits of rhythmic activity, drumming in a safe, encouraging circle actually enhances the immune system and increases the effectiveness of killer-T cells in the body, literally protecting us from many forms of cancer and other debilitating illnesses.
Drumming has a marked effect on brain wave patterns. When people with irregular or weak brain rhythms (such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s), or people who are stressed and consistently in their “left brain”, regularly participate in drumming activities, left-right brain integration is stronger and brainwaves become more organized while changing in frequency to a level where one feels more in tune, more balanced and more meditative.
Drumming as therapy can also be used in couple’s counseling, in prisons, in senior’s centres and in schools, where it has been especially effective with children presenting various learning challenges. But drumming is not only for specialized areas – it is for EVERYONE! The simple act of coming to a drumming class, participating in a local drum circle or exercising to the beat of a Drums Alive® event gives a person the opportunity to relieve stress, experience joy and communicate with others in stress-free, non-verbal, positive and healing way.
When drumming is combined with exercise as in a Drums Alive® session, where participants combine beating on fitness balls with dance and movement, it is a very powerful tool indeed. While drumming alone gives you all the usual benefits of a good workout – stress relief, improved self-confidence, muscle tone and health - drumming combined with dance/movement enhances all the usual physical and emotional effects of physical exercise. Integrating drumming into a fitness class is a total body, mind and spiritual approach to wellness.

We are born in rhythm, listening to our mother’s heartbeat in the womb. Our bodies are rhythmic – our blood flows, our heart beats and our lungs breathe in patterns. We change and move with the seasons – in short, we are surrounded by rhythms and thus it is no surprise that our bodies innately respond to the rhythms of drumming. So if you are feeling out of sync or stressed, or just looking for a way to joyfully connect with the primal energies of our world and with other like-minded folk, consider fitting drumming into your lifestyle and start moving to a whole new beat. There are only positive side-effects!


Upcoming Opportunities to Drum (and dance)!

Hello Drum, Dance and Rhythm Enthusiasts!

Happy New Year - may it be blessed with peace, happiness, community and joyful rhythms!

Here is Monica's schedule for the upcoming months; hopefully you'll find something here that interests you….

Classes through Courtenay Recreation, register (soon!) at 250.338.1000 or 250.338.5371 

Drums Alive!
Mondays, 1:45 - 2:45 pm Jan 20 - Feb 24 and Mar 3 - Mar 31 (no class Feb 10)  at the Upper Native Sons Hall
Wednesdays, 6:30 - 7:30 pm Jan 15 - Feb 12 and Feb 19 - Mar 19  at the Upper Native Sons Hall

Beginners African Drumming, Wednesdays  5 - 6 pm  Jan 15 - Feb 19 and Feb 26 - Apr 2  at the Upper Native Sons Hall

Intermediate/Advanced African Drumming  Mondays  11:45 am - 12:45 pm  Jan 13 - Feb 24 and Mar 3 - Apr 7 (no class Feb 10)  at the Upper Native Sons Hall

Classes in Campbell River, register through Campbell River Recreation 

"Cooked Beginners" African Drumming, Tuesdays 6 - 7 pm Jan 14 - Feb 11 and Feb 18 - Mar 18, Apr 8 - May 6 and May 13 - June 10 at the Sportsplex

"Beginner Beginner" African Drumming, Tuesdays 5 - 6 pm Apr 8 - May 6 and May 13 - June 10

Drums Alive!, Saturdays 1 - 2 pm   May 10 Free Class  followed by series May 17 - June 28 (no classes May 24 and June 14) at the Sportsplex

Classes at the Royston Community Hall, register with Monica at the door first day of class

Intermediate African Drumming, Sundays  4:30 - 5:30 pm  Jan 12 - Feb 16 and Feb 23 - Mar 30, Apr 6 - May 18 (no class Apr 20) and May 25 - June 29 

Dun Dun Class, Sundays  5:30 - 6:00 pm  Jan 12 - Feb 16 and Feb 23 - Mar 30, Apr 6 - May 18 (no class Apr 20) and May 25 - June 29 

Advanced African Drumming, Sundays  6:00 - 7:00 pm  Jan 12 - Feb 16 and Feb 23 - Mar 30, Apr 6 - May 18 (no class Apr 20) and May 25 - June 29

NB June 22 class combined Intermediate + Advanced and Duns from 5 - 6 pm - Summer Solstice Fundraiser Drum/Potluck from 6 - 8 pm -

******If there is enough interest, I will run a 7 - 8 pm "performance oriented" class (starting in the 2nd session) with a max of 6 people; we will not actually be performing, but these classes will give you a taste of what it feels and sounds like to play in a small group with 3 duns and 2 - 3 djembes only, and we will work more intensely on weaving rhythms and using breaks + some solo techniques. A different group of 5 - 6 can register for each session. Please email Monica before Feb 18th to express interest and reserve your spot; first come, first served!*********

That's it folks! Stay tuned for special upcoming guest workshops!