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The Beat of Your Own Drum

Learn about the Djembe

The djembe is one of West Africa’s best known instruments. This goblet shaped drum is traditionally carved from a single piece of African hardwood and covered with an animal skin. Join professional percussionist and UMS teaching artist Tariq Gardner as he guides us through the history of this noble instrument and teaches us how to play a kassa rhythm.

To learn more about the history of the djembe, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended For

Grades K-6 (ages 5-11)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF


Color Some Djembes (PDF)
Crossword (PDF)
Design a Djembe (PDF)
Draw What You Hear (PDF)

About the Artist

Tariq Gardner is an electrifying drummer, composer, and educator from Detroit who has his roots in Detroit’s rich and storied jazz tradition. He was brought up in the music by his mother, bassist, Marion Hayden, who greatly impacted his musical knowledge and instinct. A broad lover of music, Tariq is driven to bring the worlds of Jazz, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, and live instrument oriented music together in the city.

A 2018 graduate of the University of Michigan’s Jazz Studies program, Tariq has served as the Drummer for the John Douglas Quartet from 2017-19, led groups at the Charles H. Wright Museum’s African World Fest in both 2017 and 2018, has performed with the Detroit Jazz Fest All-Star Alumni Band (a three-month residency featuring pianist Cameron Graves), played at the Detroit Jazz Festival (2018-2020) and at the Cape May Jazz Festival (2019). He continues to work as a drummer, composer, and bandleader for major events in and around Detroit (including his own group the Evening Star).


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