Practice a thousand times, and it becomes difficult; a thousand thousand, and it becomes easy; a thousand thousand times a thousand thousand, and it is no longer you that does it, but It that does itself through you. Not until then is that which is done well done.
Whether you choose to strive for the kind of perfection described above, or just play and have fun, one of the best ways to learn to make music is to work with other people who also make music, and learn from them. However, you may not always have access to a teacher, or to other people who play the music you love. You may be learning on your own, from books, recordings, or videos. If you love middle eastern drums, and want to learn more about playing them, here are some instructional resources for you: schools, camps, and classes, on-line instructional resources, books, recordings, videos, belly-dance videos, and instruments. Supplier information follows the resources.
For other interesting links, I suggest checking out the Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide which has a terrific overall resource list!
If you are a woman, interested in drumming, and would like to contact other interested women, try Drummer Girl!
In addition to dance classes, "we offer small-group instruction on the following traditional instruments: saz and oud (lutes), riqq (tambourine), darbuka (hand drum), kanun (zither), nay (flute), violin, and clarinet, with Turkish, Armenian, and Arabic styles taught." For dates and details, see their Website.
Rishad Shafiev is an eminent percussionist, the laureate of many variety competitions and festivals in the USSR. He holds the Chair of percussion at the Turkmen National Conservatoire. Shafiev currently balances teaching with extensive concert activity. His performing career includes playing many folk percussion instruments. He has created his own performing rhythm style on the basis of oriental rhythms and jazz.
Oleg Koroliov is a professor, composer, and theorist researching musical rhythmics. He is heading the Variety department at the Turkmen National Conservatoire and currently giving courses in musical tempometrorhythm and jazz improvisation and arrangement.
For further information about courses offered by the school, lecture tours and clinics (including tours in the United States), or the purchase of books and videos, including Rishad Shafiev's Drums & Rhythms of Caucasus and Central Asia, please contact:
Marat Sayfutdinov, Manager
Address: 129110, Moscow, P.O. Box
Tel/fax Õ +7 095 399 4776
Email: Marat Sayfutdinov, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a wonderful resource for anyone of any age who wants to make music of any kind. It is designed primarily as a guide to support adult students and amateur musicians, but may also be useful to teachers and for other ages. I've included this one in the list of books because I have found it very useful, even though it doesn't specifically deal with middle eastern percussion. Good advice on topics like motivation, practicing, finding a teacher, getting rid of a teacher, choosing an instrument, performing, etc.
"Arabic Tambourine is indispensible for anyone wanting to learn 'hand percussion' for accompanying Medieval and Renaissance music. The illustrations, cassettes, and clearly-written text make the work extremely accessible to amateurs and professionals alike. " Mary Ellen Books
Doumbec Delight includes information about basic music theory, simple and fancy drum technique, middle eastern rhythms, guidelines for creating rhythmical variations, tips for accompanying bellydancers, and practice suggestions. Companion cassettes available. Mary Ellen Books
"Historic Percussion - A Survey ... is an exploration of why some things related to percussion in musical history may have happened the way they did. The book has several aims. 1. To furnish a general introduction to historic percussion. 2. To outline the problems encountered in researching and thinking about the subject. 3. To provide the reader with the basic framework for planning historic percussion parts. " Tactus Press
Mastering Finger Cymbals includes technical exercises to strengthen cymbal patterns, basic music theory, tips for coordinating dance steps and cymbal patterns, popular bellydance routines, and guidelines for creating rhythmical variations. Companion cassettes available. Mary Ellen Books
"Rhythm Ghosts, the result of nearly fifteen years of research, was written to try to discover what the truth was about early percussion notation - what we really know about it, what the early sources are and what they tell us, why some of the time-honored assumptions about it may be wrong, and what some of the possible ways are in which we could interpret these sources. " Tactus Press
"Would you like to have really have fun with a tambourine?... There are a lot of ways to do that - European, Middle Eastern, Latin American - in styles you may never have seen or heard. Tambourine! The Happy Sound can help you learn them all if you want to. The book covers the history of tambourines, techniques, care and repair, and contains examples taken from early music. " Tactus Press
"Companion Tape I covers the cabaret tambourine and Companion Tape II the classical tambourine, tar and mazhar. (Neither tape is very useful without the book.) Save a special space in your heart for the tambourine. It's fun and challenging. Save a little bigger space for the tar: it will move your spirit. " Mary Ellen Books
"Tape I covers lessons 1 through 10, Tape II covers lessons 11 through 30. Mary Ellen plays most examples in the book several times on her drum. She also includes examples of improvisation and extended sections of each rhythm to provide a steady backup for student practice. 90 minutes each. " Mary Ellen Books
"Mary Ellen plays most of the examples in the book several times on her cymbals. Mary Ellen also includes drumming sections so that students might practice improvising to the accompaniment. 90 minutes. " Mary Ellen Books
"After giving a brief lecture on rhythm and cymbal technique, Mary Ellen presents simple instructions for playing cymbal patterns while providing a drum accompaniment throughout. Included is an introduction to popular bellydance rhythms. This tape is useful for individual and group practice sessions. 60 minutes. " Mary Ellen Books
Cassettes designed for extended practice on cymbals, dance, drum and tambourine. Features Mary Ellen Donald on drum and George Mundy on oud and nay. 90 minutes each. Mary Ellen Books
Example rhythms include Baladi, Mas Moodi, Kashlimah, Chiftitelli, and more. David Korup
Oasis' percussionist Jim Wirt has studied with African and Arabic drum masters and plays a variety of percussion instruments on this tape. It features middle eastern rhythms such as baladi, chifti telli, ayoob, and masmoudi. The principle rhythms come through clearly, while variations and supporting percussion keep the music interesting. This tape is recommended for dancers and drummers as a practice tape. Oasis: Denis Kavemeier
"Randy Crafton specializes in percussion from around the world, including the Middle East, North and South India, Brazil, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Ghana." Instruction booklets and companion cassettes listed include Getting Started with Frame Drumming, Snapping Techniques on Frame Drums, Split Hand Techniques for Frame Drums and Duet for Frame Drums. Coopersmith Fife and Drum Company
"This impassioned and critically acclaimed recording gives testimony to the deep spiritual powers of drumming. A heady brew of Sufi, Middle-Eastern and Asian music, played on authentic instruments by the drummer for 3 Mustaphas 3 and Boiled in Lead. " (This recording isn't intended to be instructional, but I've included it on this page anyway as a personal favourite, and a wonderful example of what can be done with middle eastern drums!) Interworld Music
"Basic Middle Eastern Rhythms" Vol. I  available on both VHS Video and Cassette. Basic Beginner - Low Intermediate Level. Features Michael Beach's easy-to-learn methods - Basic Ethnomusicology, intro/demonstration of all Middle Eastern drums & percussion, how to choose the right doumbek, music notations, special guest Ishmael on kanoun and how to play basic rhythms [Baladi, Maksoum, Chefetelli, Malfouf, 6/8, Ayoob & Karsilama] on doumbek and drumset"
"A video with Rishad Shafiev, one of the best drummers in Russia and Central Asia is now available. ... Rishad Shafiev is an outstanding drummer and percussionist in the former Soviet Union. "The Drum School of Rishad Shafiev & Oleg Koroliev
"This video presents the unlimited rhythmic and tonal potentials of hand drums. John Bergamo's insightful, step-by-step instructions take you from fundamental, one-handed techniques to advanced techniques, using both hands and individual fingers. Bergamo's comprehensive approach to hand drumming is applicable to all types of drums and musical styles. " Interworld Music
"The Doumbek Video covers beginning to advanced techniques in the Arabic drumming style - the clearest, most exciting way to play the doumbek. The Doumbek Video features unique "play along" sections accompanied by a full band so you can apply the rhythms in a musical setting. It takes you through simple rhythms and beyond, and teaches intricate rhythms in an easy to learn manner." Jonathan Kessler
"Glen Velez, percussionist for the Paul Winter Consort, presents an array of techniques, tonal resources, rhythmic patterns, and expressive possibilities that can be creatively applied to any frame drum. Enthralling duets with Layne Redmond demonstrate the amazing versatility of frame drums. " Interworld Music
"Only Bergamo could present such a diversity of musical concepts, methods along with the 'communal' principles for playing in drumming groups. He also presents the drum as a personally fulfilling solo instrument. Special sections include playing on 'junk' or found instruments like pots and pans; how to get into a hold a rhythmic groove; and important musical nuances such as dynamics and tonal textures. " Interworld Music
Instructional video showing techniques for ceramic and metal doumbek, tambourine, tar, muzhar, tabla, bodhran, pandero, and tupan. 1 hr., 15 min. Mid-East Mfg. Inc.; Distance Caravans
"This unique video combines in-depth instructions on practical hand drumming techniques with contemporary metaphysical concerns on drumming and rhythm. Luminous demonstrations and performances by Layne Redmond and The Mob of Angels show how to create new and fulfilling ritual based experiences with drumming and chanting. " Interworld Music
"A how to, what for, and when video for drummers and dancers. Uncle Mafufo, otherwise known as the 'percussive half' of Sirocco, provides you with the details of ten popular Arabic drum rhythms. Presented in basic English with patience and a sense of humor. 65 minutes" FatChanceBellyDance
New instructional video by Boiled In Lead's multi-talented drummer. Includes a series of relaxational exercises, a wide variety of strokes and techniques, plus extended demonstrations and solo performances. 1 hour of drum ecstasy. DeSELBY PRODUCTIONS, INC.
I can still remember with great clarity the joy of realizing, as I watched a middle eastern dancer in a heavily fringed costume, that she was a walking percussion instrument! One of the best ways that I can think of, to get a sense of how middle eastern rhythms *feel* from the head to the toes is to try belly dancing. Great fun!
Alethea's videos include:
- Vol I Basic Body Movements & Isolations
- Vol II Shimmy & Vibrations & Combos
- Vol III Hand & Arm Techniques + Rudimentary Zills
- Vol IV Combos That Work!
- Vol V More Shimmies & Combos & Stomach Work
- Vol VI Veil Techniques
"If you liked the movie Aladdin you'll love this tape. A sensuous ancient blend of muscle toning, body consciousness and dance. You'll learn everything from simple steps to costume design and the use of finger cymbals. Based on 12 years of bellydance teaching, Atea begins with simple isolated motions (e.g. belly rolls, staccato hips). You then combine these movements into a flowing dance series and finally into a complete bellydance program. You'll be surprised at the aerobic workout that you get with this video. (55 minutes)" Collage Video
"A slightly more advanced program featuring more energetic and explosive movements. You'll learn multiple variations of arm, upper body and hip motions (e.g. hip bump, hip bump forward, hip bump backward). Also includes pivots, spins along with both freestyle and choreographed dance steps. (39 minutes)" Collage Video
"More sensuous and feminine routines, slow, circular, wave-like motions. Includes rolling hip combos, ribcage/belly routines and demos of how to choreograph them to specific music. (38 minutes)" Collage Video
"This is a wonderful video on the subject, made by a woman who is an African and Middle East dance historian as well as a professional belly dancer. She first presents historical and cultural notes on the dance form - originally it was a religious dance performed by women - followed by easy-to-follow instruction. " Ladyslipper Catalog
Resources at the dance homepage include:
- Instruction: Mideastern Dance: an Introduction to Belly Dance - K. Ferguson (Video)
- Performance: Dances from the Casbah - K. Ferguson/Xanadu Dancers (video)
- Music: Darbuka Rhythms for Oriental Dance Practice - S. Wilson (Audio)
- History: Kathryn Dances - video retrospective - K. Ferguson in live performance
- Travel: Egyptian Adventures - travel in Egypt.
"These three video volumes present a complete workshop. In them, Delilah defines an extensive vocabulary of dance, explaining and demonstrating hundreds of different movements and techniques. Each program is presented as an entertaining blend of instruction, philosophy, and beautiful dance performances, illustrating the many facets of this art. " Visionary Dance Productions
- Volume I: Warm-up Ritual, Slow Hips and Torso, Arms and Hands, Zills and Rhythms [90 minutes]
- Volume II: Fast Hips, Baladi, Masmoudi, Karshilama, Veil [80 minutes]
- Volume III: Undulations, Belly Rolls, Coin Tricks, Floorwork made easy, Advanced Floorwork, Turkish Drop [90 minutes]
"Dalia Carella is a brilliant artist and a dedicated scholar. She is a highly regarded instructor, performer, & choreographer of Middle Eastern and Ethnic Dance. Dalia is renowned for her breath-taking interpretations of Dunyavi Gypsy dancing.Her presentation of a medley of gypsy styles is a performance to be treasured as both a scholarly dissertation and thrilling entertainment." Audrena's International Bazaar
"Professional performance video, taped with six cameras on the biggest casino stage in Atlantic City. It features a full Egyptian orchestra, recorded with digital stereo surround sound. The video features approximately 30 minutes of beautiful and artistic interpretation of traditional Egyptian-style 'Raks Sharqi' and 'Saaidi' dance with fantastic Taq seems and a fabulous, funky tabla solo." Soraya
Performance and instructional resources include:
- Dances for the Sultan (video)
- Stretch and Tone with Suhaila (video)
- Suhaila Unveiled! (video)
- Suhaila: Beginner Choreography (video)
- Suhaila: Intermediate Choreography (video)
- Suhaila: Advanced Choreography Drum Solo (video)
- Arabian Musicals, Volume 1 (audio cassette)
- Arabian Musicals, Volume 2 (audio cassette)
"In this special two hour workshop, Carolena and the five members of FatChanceBellyDance present you with the Basics of American Tribal Style Bellydance. With music specially composed for TRIBAL BASICS, you'll learn posture, stretches, strengthening exercises, the family of slow movements; taxeem, ribcage and torso isolation, bodywaves, bellyrolls and arms, and the family of fast, rhythmic steps; the basic shimmy, Egyptian, Arabic, pivot bump and choo-choo. Then follow a full review of all movements and steps, both in rehearsal and performance using simple combinations and transitions. Plus a behind the scenes look at FCBD. 2 hours" FatChanceBellyDance
"Make-up and costume are magic and transformation. Through out history, women have used this art to both create and enhance the aura of natural beauty. The basic elements of stage make-up, contemporary and traditional costuming techniques and the wisdom of folklore are reflected in our distinctive style. FatChanceBellyDance invites you to join us for an hour of detailed instruction in the art of make-up and costume for American Tribal Style Bellydance." FatChanceBellyDance
"Although finger cymbals or zils are a dancer's natural accompaniment to the dance, beginning students are often confused by their relation to the music and dance steps. In this 30 minute workshop, Carolena demonstrates the basic elements of music theory along with five basic zil patterns. Simple, easy to follow directions for Alternating Right-Left, Standard Right-Left-Right, Military, Baladi and Moroccan Six. " FatChanceBellyDance
"The Middle Eastern Dance Video Sourcebook is compiled annually to help individuals, organizations and libraries obtain current information on videotapes that feature Middle Eastern dance styles in performance or instruction. " International Dance Discovery
If you have any options in the matter, I recommend that you buy your instruments in person, so that you can try them out and get an idea of how they will sound. If this is your first drum, and you don't know *how* to play yet, try to take someone along who does know what the drum should sound and feel like when it's played, and get them to test it out. But if there aren't any stores in your area, you may have to rely on mail order. Here are some sources I've found:
I also obtained a list of addresses for obtaining drums of various kinds, not necessarily middle eastern, by writing to The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Box 670, Belden Station, Norwolk, Conneticut. USA 06852, and asking them for their list of drum sources.
"Audrena travels the world to obtain the best and most original supplies for the amateur and professioal middle eastern dancer. Complete belly dance supplier. Videos, tapes, CDs, costumes and accessories. "
9720 South Mason Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
For more information on Alethea's bellydance instructional tapes, see the Veil and Drum pages, or contact:
2070 Battle Row
Augusta GA 30904
"The REMO pre-tuned hand drum is remarkably inexpensive, and a good beginning drum. This single-headed round frame drum with a mylar head is available widely in ordinary musical instrument stores in North America. If you cannot obtain one locally, you may want to order one from: Boston Music Co.
Boston Music Co.
116 Boylston Street
A middle eastern band from the Oregon area, Brothers of Baladi have been active since 1975. They draw on Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Armenian & North African traditions, both instrumental and vocal. They are available for both traditional concerts and for world music dance parties, with or without accompanying dancers! Member Michael Beach also leads world music drum and rhythm workshops at all levels, and sells a beginning drumming instruction video.
Brothers of Baladi
Collage puts out a mail-order catalog containing a wide variety of fitness videos.
Collage Video Specialties, Inc.
5390 Main St. NE, Dept. 1
Phone Orders: 1-800-433-6769
"This is a manufacturers site for percussion including a section shown by frame drums - when there you'll see a listing of tars, bendirs, haddjira and so forth along with a listing of some instructional materials."
Cooperman Fife and Drum Company.
Essex Industrial Park PO Box 276
Centerbrook CT 06409-0276 USA
Primarily a mail-order source for music by Boiled in Lead and other world music artists, DeSelby also includes this instructional video in their most recent catalog.
DeSELBY PRODUCTIONS, INC.
Minneapolis MN 55407 USA
Phone Orders:  379 0405
Fax:  379 0354
"For people interested in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Belly Dancing, Ethnic Jewelry, Amber & lots of other great stuff. Products from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Poland and the USA., " Includes Cassettes and Videos.
PO Box 5254
Reno, NV 89513
Email: Barb @DISTANT-CARAVANS.reno.nv.us
"Earthshaking Music carries a wide range of imported ethnic instruments from all over the world: Australia, Africa, Brazil, the Middle and Far East. As a source for Middle Eastern instruments, we stock an array of instruments from dumbeks, riqs, tars, bendir etc. to ouds, sintir, genbri, ney and megwes ney. (The inlaid metal dumbek is incredible!) Our media catalog has over 300 titles of world music, including items by Robin Adnan Anders and Mary Ellen Donald. Instrument and media catalogs are free, and we ship anywhere."
P.O. Box 18372
Atlanta GA 30316
Phone Orders:  646-6795 ext. 7262
Fax/Phone Enquiries:  624-3349
FatChanceBellyDance's HomePage Order Catalog presents what the dance group has found to be the "best of" bellydance music, costuming and accessories. Audiences have shown so much enthusiasm, that they have decided to make the collection available by mail.
PO Box 460594
San Francisco, CA 94146 USA
Phone Orders:  647 6035
Interworld has a variety of ethnic drumming videos, recordings, and method books, as well as a limited supply of gongs, bells, and frame drums. I've only listed those items relating to middle eastern drumming: for detailed reviews of these and other Interworld videos, check out Dirty Linen, Issue 52, June/July 1994.
RD3 Box 395A
Phone Orders: 1-800-257-5519
1812 Gillespie Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101 USA
Phone Orders: (805) 898-0663
Email: : email@example.com
885 Dogwood Park Drive
David Korup (pronounced Dah-Veed)
5809 Ryder Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28226-8305
Phone: 888-324-8333 Toll Free (outside NC)
Ladyslipper publishes an extensive mail order catalog, with 1 paragraph reviews, focusing primarily on music by and for women in a wide variety of styles. An excellent resource for small independents and for music that is responsive to gay, lesbian, and feminist issues.
P.O. Box 3124
Phone Orders: 1-800-634-6044
From the ocarina to the bowed psaltery, from the darabukka to the hurdy-gurdy, there's a good chance that if you want an obscure ethnic instrument, you'll find it in this catalog.
Lark in the Morning
P.O. Box 1176
Mary Ellen Donald teaches a variety of middle-eastern instruments. Her instructional books and cassettes include dumbek, tambourine, finger cymbals, and others.
Mary Ellen Books
P.O. Box 7589
San Francisco, CA
Advertising Folke Instruments of the Knowne Worlde, Mid-East carries a variety of intriguing instruments from around the world. While I drool over their ouds and santoors, I've mostly fallen prey to the lure of ceramic and metal doumbeks, tars, tambourines, defs, and tupans. They also have some very good carrying cases for ceramic doumbeks.
Oasis is a mediterranean and middle eastern dance band, particularly popular with dancers throughout the United States. In addition to the The Drums of Oasis, which is a good practice tape for drummers and dancers, Oasis has produced a number of other recordings: Songs from the Oasis, Night at the Oasis, and their latest, Evolution (1994).
Oasis: Denis Kavemeier
12448 W. Cleveland Ave.
New Berlin, WI
"Percussion East is an importer and retailer of some of the finest percussion and wind instruments from the Arabic countries, Armenia, Persia, and Turkey. We offer these professional instruments at prices well below our competitors simply because we buy direct and in bulk. Being professional musicians and having grown up in the Arabic, Armenian, Persian, and Turkish cultures we know where to look and what to look for when purchasing instruments. We are also offering gift items (such as a mini decorative oud, instructional material (translated from Arabic and Persian as well as books produced in the US), and a collection of tapes and CD's featuring the best authentic music from Arabic countries, Armenia, Persia, and Turkey."
P.O. Box 1629
Southampton, PA 18966
"REMO, Inc. manufactures an entire line of World Percussion products, including: Bombos, Gathering Drums, and other frame and full shell drums of many different origins. For information and an extensive catalogue, contact:
12804 Raymer St.
North Hollywood, CA
"Instruments and Sound Makers from Around the World"
Rhythm Fusion, Inc.
P.O. Box 3226
Santa Cruz, CA
P.O. Box 3284
Voice Mail: (609) 823-2029
The Tactus Press offers a number of percussion books in addition to Tambourine: The Happy Sound and Historic Percussion - A Survey, including "Castanuelas, Ole", and "Royall Drummes & Mariall Musick".
The Tactus Press
P.O. Box 9704
Phone: San: 297-6498
"ThunderHeart Drums offers a blending of traditional design and contemporary craftsmanship. Each drum has been thoroughly researched to be faithful to the cultural tradition from which it has emerged; then, where appropriate, modern materials and techniques have been applied to make a better sounding, versatile and trouble-free drum. All the drums are finished both inside and out with a custom blended oil finish and are fitted with a superior quality goatskin head."
THREE WISHES POTTERY
RR 1 BOX 321 ANDES, NEW YORK 13731
Phone: 914 - 676 - 3395
Visionary Dance Productions offers a number of belly-dance related videos, featuring Delilah, and also tapes and cds of music composed for the videos by Steve Flynn. In addition to the instructional tapes listed above, titles include "Delilah's Costume Workshop", "Delilah and Sirocco, Live and Wild", "The Spirit of Oriental Dance", "Goddess Grace: A Moving Meditation", "Dance Delilah, Dance!", and "Dance to the Great Mother".
Visionary Dance Productions
P.O. Box 30797
Phone: (206) 632-2353
Further information, or corrections, are always appreciated. Descriptions of items in quotation marks are quoted from the advertising of the suppliers themselves; unquoted descriptions are my own summaries from available information. I am not personally familiar with all of the materials described.
I have no formal association with any of the companies or sources noted above, and therefore do not guarantee the absolute accuracy of the information on this page. (i.e. If someone moves, I won't necessarily hear about it.)