About the Djembe/ West African Rhythm Intensive

Explore new rhythms! In this 1-day intensive, students will proceed to learn various West African rhythms and how to play the Djembe, Dun Dun Sangban and Kenkeni. This intensive is open to beginner, intermediate, and advanced musicians.

Dates: July 23th
All sessions will be held from 11am to 5pm at our main space around the corner of Times Square. More detailed outline and information on the schedule will follow.


  • Role of djembe in West African music and culture
  • Survey of different styles of djembe music comparing: Guinea , Mali, Cote D’ivoire, and maybe Burkina Faso
  • Overview and comparison of ensemble playing: Traditional, Ballet, Instrumental, and Contemporary
  • The three sounds: Slap, Tone, Bass
  • Playing technique
  • The Dunduns: Dundunba, Sangban, Kenkeni
  • Dundun playing technique: Sticks and Bells
  • Repertoire:  learn a rhythm in 4/4 (6 parts)
  • Repertoire: learn a rhythm in 6/8 (6 parts)
  • Improvising and how to approach it.


-At least 17 years of age
-Some of our intensives are better suited to intermediate and advanced musicians with a minimum of a few years on their instrument; other summer intensives, such as the beginner vocal and choir, are open to everyone. More details can be discussed during registration.


Ismaila Diarra was born into a family of musicians. His father is a master musician and taught him to play several traditional instruments. He began his career playing with local bands and touring the world. Once in the United States, he has toured with Mama Africa as well as performed in Dollywood Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom as well as performed with the Drum Cafe in New York City. He has also taught drumming at all levels from young children to adults in New York City and across the country.

Tuition and Registration

$145 Early bird special for registrations received by April 30th
for registrations received after May 1st

To sign up for this Summer Intensive, fill out this brief registration form.

General Information

For more info regarding our summer program, housing, travel, and more, visit our Summer Workshop General Information page. For a more in-depth experience, inquire about adding a private lesson with someone from the NYJW Faculty during your visit. Learn more about how you can combine Summer Intensives to create a customized Summer Jazz Packages. Feel free to reach out via email at [email protected] with any additional questions.

What to expect:
When you join us for one or more of our intensives, you can expect to become a member of our tightly knit community. There will be musicians from all over the world looking to learn, explore and make connections. You will be making connections that last a lifetime. A typical day will be as follows:

11:00am – 1:00pm: Morning Sessions
1:00pm – 2:00pm  Lunch Break
2:00pm – 5:00pm: Afternoon Sessions
Evenings: Free

Student will normally organize small groups or go check out some concerts. See “Fun Evening Activities” in the General Information page for more details. There will be opportunities for every student to perform outside of the school, more details coming up soon.

The New York Jazz Workshop Summer Series is held in our space at Michiko Studios in midtown Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square.

New York Jazz Workshop at Michiko Studios
149 West 46 street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10036
between 6th and 7th avenue.