We find the best way to play is in the sitting position. On a stool or armless chair that is the correct height for you and your drum, tilt your drum slightly away from you and pull your upper arms laterally away from your body by about 6-8 inches (15-20cm). Your hands should rest comfortably flat on the head of the drum at a 90-degree angle to each other.
Try to relax before you drum (go for a run / meditate) & remove any hand jewellery so the drum skin is not damaged.
The Djembe produces three basic types of sound - Bass, Tone & Slap
For all these sounds, let your hand rebound as soon as it has made its sound.
Bass. To make a bass sound, drop your hand down in the middle of the drum with the base of the palm just inside the rim of the drum. The whole hand should strike the drum with a soft but firm intention. Your hand should rebound as if it has come up from a trampoline
A Tone is the middle Djembe sound & the most natural. Keep a straight line locked from your elbows to your fingertips & treat this part of your arm as a single unit. Firmly drop your hand onto the drum head with the pads at the base of your fingers landing just outside the rim of the drum. After striking the drum your hand should jump like you`ve touched a hot oven.
A Slap is the highest-pitched Djembe sound. Take the same position with your locked arm as with the Tone & relax the wrist so it droops by 10-15 degrees. Relax your fingers & let them naturally spread out & curve. With a flicking motion drop your hand onto the drum head with the pads at the base of your fingers landing on or just outside the rim of the drum. Your hand should snap back like the end of a cracking whip, We recommend taking lessons and joining a local drum group (great fun as well as learning the instrument) - in Wiltshire we work with Kaya Rhythm & Arts who teach & run a variety of groups.