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2045 SE Ankeny St
Portland, OR, 97214

503-309-9959

Sound and Rhythm teaches people of all ages and experience.  Absolute beginners or experienced players can find expert instruction at the Sound and Rhythm drumming studio.

Sound and Rhythm drumming studio offers African Drumming Circles & Classes, Private lessons  on drum set and hand drums, Performances,

Team Building, and School Programs.

Thoughts on drumming

Nashville

Clifford Koufman

We've been in Nashville for just about seven months and I've been fortunate enough to have many opportunities, learning experiences, as well as challenges. To be able to associate with some musicians that I admire has been incredible. I've been fortunate enough to perform with musical groups in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Texas. I got to jam with Roy "Futureman" Wooten, perform with one of my teachers, Bolokada Conde, and learn from some of the best. My first recording experience here at Jay's Place Recording Studio on Music Row was a positive experience in which I was able to chart songs and put percussion and drum set parts down for Tylere Roy's album. 

Musically I have a better idea what I want to improve upon which gives me more focus when practicing. I've also come to the realization that it is time to start my business, teaching practice, here in Nashville. Balancing the different aspects of my career will be important in creating a sustainable career. I hope that my process can help others that who have careers in a creative field or whose careers are not a clear cut path. 

 

Hanging with John Scofield

Clifford Koufman

Every feel like you know a a hero or celebrity? I often think I know what they’d be like in person from hearing their music and witnessing their stage persona. 

For years I’ve listened to the music of John Scofield. I’ve seen him concert as well as enjoying albums that he has done. He has an instantly recognizable tone but is also a chameleon that can seemingly fit into any musical context. He has played with everyone from Miles DavisDave LiebmanJoe HendersonCharles MingusJoey DeFrancescoHerbie HancockPat MethenyBill FrisellPat MartinoMavis StaplesPhil LeshBilly CobhamMedeski Martin & WoodGeorge DukeJaco Pastorius, to John Mayer. That's not even including everybody, what a resume!

Recently I had the opportunity and honor to meet, hang and talk with a hero, John Scofield. I picked him and Joe Lovano up from the airport and he jumped into the passenger seat and John immediately introduced himself. I let him know that I knew who he was. I dropped them off at their hotel. I was amazed at how much he was like what I thought he’d be like.

Later in the day I picked them up to take them to the venue where they were performing. We made a quick stop to pick up coffee at a place that was recommended to them. 

At the venue they got to work sound checking. It was interesting to me that they hardly talked about what they were going to do. They mostly just played, playing a combination of standard and original compositions. 

Their concert that evening was sold out. I heard many rave revues of the show. What a pleasure meeting this musical giant!

NAMM

Clifford Koufman

I am currently in L.A. at the National Association of Music Merchants annual convention at the Anaheim convention center. I arrived Wednesday night after a long commute by car from the airport to where I was staying in Silver Lake. At one point there was a helicopter circling so close over head that I thought it was going to land on my car. After getting dinner I headed to David Hilal's recording studio in Orange county, about and hour and a half away. There he was conducting an African drumming class with his friend and teacher, Dramane Kone. Dramane is an excellent drummer from Burkina Faso and David is an excellent drummer from Orange county. The class was supposed to start at 8:00pm but I didn't get there until 8:30pm. We worked on a short break and techniques played with the rhythm Sofa. After the class we continued to play and I didn't leave the studio until after 1:00am.  It seems that everything in the L.A. area is at least an hour away and I din't get back to Silver Lake after 2:00am. 

The next morning after breakfast I met with my drum set teacher, Daniel Glass, in person for the first time. We had been doing Skype lessons for nine months we finally had the opportunity to meet. After a long lesson working on technique, many of which he learned from Freddie Gruber, the drum set guru. Daniel has taken these techniques as well as others of his own creation and refined them and worked them into his teaching system. After nine month of working on these techniques I thought I was getting pretty good at them. But Daniel could see what I could not and he did his best to bring specific points to my awareness. I will continue to work on practice the techniques, hopefully with more awareness. 

After leaving the lesson I drove another hour or so to Anaheim for the BASS BASH. Through Victor Wooten I volunteered as a stage hand for the bash. This was the first time that I had been a stage hand and I was a bit worried about how it would go. I was upfront about this but because of my experience being in bands they were willing to take a chance on me.

The line up: Opening was Steve Lawson and Divinity, who played with Beyonce. Next was Or Lubianiker and his band, all of whom are from Israel. Than Bakithi Kumalo of Paul Simon fame. He's on Graceland! Bakithi has also worked with Gloria EstefanHerbie HancockChaka KhanHarry Belafonte, and Cyndi Lauper. Next was Bobby Vega who has worked with Sly Stone, Tower of Power, Paul Butterfield, Lee Oskar, Jefferson Airplane and Starship, Etta James, Joan Baez, and Santana. That's not even everybody notable that he's worked with. The closer was a young bass player named Alissa Benveniste. She brought a fourteen piece band. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n3fX-O4N_4

I arrived at 2:00pm and was there in time to help complete the stage plot, moving bass cabinet and amps. I didn't get out of there until around 11:00pm. In my next post I'll talk more about this evening as well as the next day at NAMM. I hope you've enjoyed reading. Let me know if you have any comments. 

Practice Drumming

Clifford Koufman

Over the years the way that I have practiced has changed. Here are a few tips that I find useful when working on a pattern or technique on drum set or the djembe. 

Practice at varying speeds and dynamic levels. We can get used to practicing and playing at specific speeds and levels of loud and soft. When we work on playing in the margins of slow, fast, loud and soft we can play with more comfort and expression. The goal being to play with ease at whatever tempo or dynamic level is being introduced. 

Have fun playing the drums!

 

Guest teacher from Guinea, West Africa, Fana Bangoura

Clifford Koufman

On Saturday Sound and Rhythm Drumming Stuio hosted Guinean drummer, Fana Bangora for a workshop. Fana was named “Master Drummer” by the Guinean Ministry of Culture in 2008.  For over 8 years he was a featured djembe soloist for two national groups of Guinea, Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains.

I've know Fana for many years, ever since he moved to the United States. When he first moved to Portland we would go on hikes and I got to know him even though he was less then fluent in English. I was fortunate enough to play in his group Mounafanyi and would play dununs for his drumming class. I learned a lot from Fana, seeing the energy that he played with and expected from his group and learning from the depth of knowledge that he has and shared of "Ballet Style" drumming in Guinea. 

Fana now lives in Rochester, New York where he teaches drumming and dancing. I hadn't seen him in a few years. Since seeing him last he is now fluent in English and his teaching style has matured and was very clear. He has always had great sound on the djembe!

Fana taught the rhythm from the umbrella term Guinea Fare (woman's dance),  Yoki. This is a rhythm played by the Susu people and Fana is part Susu. Yoki is a ternary rhythm played fast and can be challenging to experienced players. The class had a wide range of playing experience and Fana did a great job teaching a complicated rhythm and giving everyone something. Thanks to Fana Sound and Rhythm students will work on this rhythm in the next Polyrhythms and Solos Series.