How to Tell if it's 4/4 or 6/8
I enjoyed answering this question, and it's one of the most common questions I get. I know it was a huge puzzler for me when I first started, so here is how I learned to tell the difference, and how I teach others... the easy way. It's actually pretty simple most of the time.
1 -- Easy - See if you recognize the break (I teach the common ones here).
2 -- Moderate - See if you recognize a common part from either signature (I teach the common ones).
3 -- Advanced - Count it:
And just in case you haven't noticed already, some rhythms are just plain weird, like Yankadi, Dununba, Koredjuga, so they might be hard to identify. But be grateful you are not studying middle eastern music, because they love 9s, 10s, 12s and other freaky s--t. Wish me luck, I am starting to study that stuff because my sweetheart is a bellydancer now.
In this video, I will give you some obvious examples, and some harder ones, to give you a feel for it. Plus, some extra tips, and you are on your way to knowing pretty much anytime.
Screaming with Joy
I am a musician myself but wanted to learn drumming. When I watch Robert drum for dancers at Dance Church, Sufi, and parties, and see how everyone starts moving, shouting and screaming with joy, it's amazing. I realized I wanted to do that! I have been taking group lessons from Robert once a week for about 2 months now, and for someone that never touched a drum before, I am getting better fast. His knowledge goes way beyond the rhythms and sounds - he really understands the art and spirit of it, the psychology and physiology of dancers. I get a lot out of every lesson, and I intend to join his performance group.
~~ Kevin Dalfonso, Musician, Systems Tech, Encinitas, CA
Get the Room Rocking
I met Robert some years ago. When I learned about his prowess as a drummer and rocking the djembe, I invited him to join my rock band, Clarke After Darke. He was amazing. It didn't matter what the song was, he was always able to get the room rocking with his strong percussive beats. And he dueled with the kit-drummer, like a swashbuckling pirate and they laid down some fabulous solos. Besides, he is a really kind and gentle person. We were sad when he left for California. We love him to bits.
~~ Clarke Stevens, Entertainer, CPA, Phoenix, AZ
I've been casually drumming for many years but never formally, and never with african drumming. Then I saw Robert drumming at our local dance church. I was amazed how he could change rhythms effortlessly and "communicate" with the other drummers. Not only is he a great drummer, he is an extraordinary teacher. He is kind, patient and shows a true love for drumming and teaching. When he asked us at our first lesson what were our goals, he didn't snicker or laugh when I said "I just want to be as good as you" - now my goal is to have fun and be as good as I can be, and if that even approximates a quarter of Robert's talent I will be grateful.
~~ Paul Paez, Chiropractor, Encinitas, CA