Playing the Batucada With Rex Golston and

An exciting street festival rhythm from Brazil, the Batucada that has caught on around the world. There are three important reasons why the Batucada is so popular.

(1) It's a very peppy, basic rhythm that is easy to play on the drums.

(2) Anyone with a simple percussion instrument can join in, have fun, and experience immediate success.

(3) With a little bit of practice, students can learn variations on the basic rhythm and thereby develop their aptitude for all music as well as their ability to perform with a group.

Here's the process:

a) Play all the eighth notes unaccented
b) Play the pattern as accented eighth notes
c) Play the pattern as written on the listed instrument

For variations:
d) Play the pattern as written on other instruments
e) Play on only some of the measures 1of 2, 1of 3, 1 of 4 etc.
f) Play only part of the written part - 1 measure or 1/2 measure or 1 beat
g) Play all the eighth notes unaccented
h) Play the pattern as accented eighth notes

Instruments played in the batucada include authentic surdo, snare drum, tamborim, agogó, reco-reco, ganzá, and pandeiro from Brazil as well as hand-drums such as conga and bongó from the Cuban tradition. From Africa we also use gongoque and beaded gourds of many types as well as instruments such as the berimbau and talking drum.

The Batucada usually begins with all the instruments of the rhythm section playing the basic rhythm together. Then a number of instruments will branch off and play rhythmic variations, finally ending back together on the basic rhythm. It's just plain hard to describe how simple and delightful it is to play the Batucada in a group of percussionists. The music is uplifting, every instrument sounds great as a part of the whole, and the result is a joyous experience!

Notes for music teachers and students

Immediate rewards
All music is composed of rhythm and melody. When learning to play music, we are much more quickly rewarded when we take on only one of these at a time. In fact, learners are frequently discouraged in their efforts to play a musical instrument because of the difficulty of learning both the rhythm and melody at the same time. However, repeatedly playing one without the other can make the music sound thin and feel tedious to play over and over. A great feature of the Batucada is that its rhythm is so rich, intriguing and upbeat that it can stand alone-you simply don't miss a melody!

Great introduction to music making
Simple percussion instruments provide a great introduction to music making. First, they play rhythm only (no melody). Second, because they are not complex instruments they allow for immediate success. And third, they offer the opportunity for repetition. When we repeatedly perform any activity -- particularly precise, simple motions with purpose and pleasure--, we enhance our brainpower. From a physiological perspective, the repetitive action literally impels the growth of new dendrites (the connecting parts of nerve cells) in the brain, thus smoothing its neurological pathways.

Carry-over learning benefits
Because percussion instrument playing has this effect on the brain it provides a fabulous carry-over benefit. It makes learning to play melody instruments -- or to sing or dance -- easier, faster and more efficient. Likewise, melody-instrument musicians who work with percussion instruments for a time will find that their overall musicianship improves. It's great cross-training! Most musical artists find that spending a few hours concentrating on rhythm shortens the total time they need to spend on mastering their expression of choice.

Fun and excitement
Any time spent playing music is valuable...and the more fun and exciting the music is, the more valuable the experience is. Everyone knows that music with a great beat feels good. It just gets the toes tapping and the body moving. Then there's that contagious wave of enthusiasm that moves through the entire group when you are listening to up-tempo music together. Now, imagine how you'll feel when you and the rest of your group are the musicians playing this up-beat music!

Our Mission is to give children of all ages the fun, self-esteem-building experience of immediate success as percussion musicians.

Benefits of this workshop
Immediately rewarding
Builds self-confidence
Enhances concentration
Teamwork and cooperation
Opportunity to take chances within the safety of the larger group
Simple achievements are rewarded as the group sounds better and better.

Special Note For Teachers
Be prepared! The question that students most frequently ask at the end of our workshop is "When can we do this again?" The purpose of this program is twofold: to raise self-esteem through an exciting hands-on exposure to percussion instruments, and to offer an introduction to the music of cultures from around the world.

For the purpose of impelling the growth of new dendrites,
the most effective practice is to alternate the hands as much as possible
while keeping up with the basic underlying pulse

Playing the music

  1. Start the count mentally
  2. Count out loud from time to time, raising the pitch to exercise the vocal folds and exaggerate the mouth movements to exercise the muscles for singing, horns and flutes
  3. Make the sound on the instrument when the mouth makes the words
  4. Keep the underlying beat steady
  5. Make very simple precise movements with each instrument
  6. Spend some time playing very quietly
  7. Be able to accent gently
  8. Listen to the blending of the various instruments
  9. When unsure of the beat, play very, very quietly

REX GOLSTON 530-859-0130

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