The size of the djembe drum which you decide to go for will depend on your size, ability, and, of course, the music purpose of the drum. Djembe drums can be played whilst sitting down and also standing up, with the aid of a djembe strap. Adults should, generally speaking, have larger drums where the heads are 12 inches or more. Young people should have the smaller drum, with head sizes of 7 to 10 inches. To determine what size drum head you should go for you will need to place the heel of your hand on the rim of the drum – your fingers should just cross the centre of the drum. If you go for anything smaller your hands will be too large to achieve clean and distinct sounds.
Positioning of the drum between the legs is an important consideration when determining the best size djembe. Some people have short arms, and some have longer arms. One should make sure that the size they have selected matches a comfortable position from which their arms can strike out and hit the head from various angles. Some of the very agile are able to control the position of the drums, and actually move it, with smooth, minute squeezing and loosening motions of the knees against the drum’s body. It is possible to pick up the drum and beat it for an extra explosive resonance, by just using the knees.
Once the beginner has selected a drum size, he or she should spend a few days to allow their body to get use to drumming. One should play the drum from different positions, in the comfortable position of sitting down, to the awkward position of standing up. Doing this would help one fathom out if they have selected the right size drum. This brings forth the idea of the “Suzuki” method of learning music that was once popular. Little children learned how to play the violin and become familiar with the instrument by walking around with it while playing. The point here is simply that one’s body must get familiar with the drum. This is why size is important. The djembe is truly a spiritual instrument and one does not want to start off with it in an awkward relationship.
Size is an important factor to take into consideration when deciding on a djembe drum. Once this has been established you can then go on to decide if you would prefer a wooden djembe or a fibreglass djembe, roped tuned of mechanically tuned and finally the style of the djembe.
About the Author