Learning the Conga

melbaycongasOne objective of mine is to become self sufficient from a music production / prototyping perspective. I should be able to compose / produce / engineer a tune without anybody else’s assistance.  Now I don’t mean that I will have the skills both musically and engineering wise to create the ultimate finished product but that I should be able to create a very good sounding reasonable demo which I can then take to the next level if the tune warrants it and if I can finance it.

Either one is very fortunate to have both lots of music friends and or lots of available cash to spend  time in a studio or you don’t. I don’t.

To that extent and because of the music I like to play and hope to compose I have added another project to my list which I’m entitling “Hand Drums”. My first goal in that project will be to work myself through Mel Bay’s The Tomas Cruz Conga Method.

Here’s a blurb fron Amazon where I just purchased the book and accompanying DVD.

In Volume I, Tomasito reveals the time­-tested conga method which he himself studied with “Changuito” and other master congueros at the ENA conservatory in Havana. Volume I starts at the absolute beginning and is designed for the person who has never touched the congas, but is also of great value to the advanced player who wishes to understand the foundation and rudiments of the approach that has allowed the ENA and the other Havana conservatories to consistently turn out so many world class congueros each year.

Volume I begins with simple exercises to develop technique and systematically works its way through rudiments and recursos for use in solos and fills and basic rhythm patterns such as Salsa, Cha-Cha and Bolero. These are presented using the unique Step by Step DVD Method, which enables the student to learn the patterns by watching the DVD and imitating Tomasito as he builds the patterns stroke by stroke. This, combined with a special type of notation designed to be simple for those who don’t read music, results in a conga course that really works, rather than just another reference book to add to the bookshelf!

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