Learning Outcomes & Student Levels

Here is a chart giving a guideline of musical skills our students can expect to gain from attending our courses and workshops when combined with home study.

Level 1
Drum Technique Hand positions on various drums.

Basic drum sounds – open and bass.

Playing and understanding of 1 or 2 clave patterns with the pulse.

Drumming Styles Afro-Cuban Folkloric percussion -An understanding of simple polyrhythmic drum parts for rumba, batá and makuta with one variation.

Salsa Percussion –  An understanding of simple polyrhythmic drum parts for son, chachacha and salsa.

Context A basic understanding of how drum patterns enter and fit with associated songs.


Level 2
Drum Technique All sounds – slap, open, bass, fingers and muffled.

A deeper awareness of different clave patterns as a rhythmic structure and how drum rhythms interlock.

Drumming Styles Afro-Cuban Percussion – A more complex understanding of rumba – yambú, guaguancó and columbia including some variations. The ability to play more complex batá toques including conversations and variations on okónkolo and itótele. An understanding of other styles such as palo and güiro.

Salsa Percussion – A more complex understanding of charanga, son and salsa and their variations techniques and ensemble context.

Context A larger repertoire of songs including some simultaneous singing and playing.


Level 3

Drum Technique  

Clarity of sound and fluency of technique (i.e. effortless movement between tones at speed).


Drumming Styles Being able to understand and remember drum parts and how they interconnect.

Playing rumba with fluency and at higher tempos.

An understanding of some quinto phrasing.

Learning and remembering complex batá toques on all 3 drums.

Appropriate drum language for songs.

A more complete level of playing in other styles – palo, guiro etc, including lead drum phrasing.



A wider repertoire of song sequences and their contexts. Simultaneous singing and playing.