Having just finished another round of dexterity classes, it feels like a good time to summarise. Learning to play from both sides of the body is liberation to the hands of a djembe player. Our hands and our technique allow us to express what we hear in our mind. But the clear conduit for our creativity is only possible when we have loads of independence in our hands and no “rhythmic gristle.”
Practising smart is the way forward and the path to freedom in our playing. Learn to flam consistently from both sides, focus on your weaknesses and break down your playing into the rudiments you find most challenging, then work on them. Massage out the gristle slowly and incrementally. There is no easy road, but smart practice is the fastest way to great technique and dexterity. Once it comes you’ll find that you can translate what you hear in your head to what you play; far fewer break down’s half way through a solo and a relaxed, uninhibited approach to your playing… Rhythmic nirvana!