Today, many schools in the U.K. and beyond are teaching children mindfulness, a widely acclaimed therapeutic technique that focuses our feelings, thoughts and emotions, and induces calm and emotional wellbeing.
Jayadev Dasa, a well-known musician and kirtan singer from England, has written a book that teaches children mindfulness in a unique way – through fun Djembe drumming lessons.
Jayadev, of course, was the drummer for the ‘70s pop group The Rubettes, which had a hit with “Sugar Baby Love” and sold twenty million records worldwide.
More recently he has traveled around the world conducting audiences in his “Mantra Choir” experience.
He has combined these two skills to write “Fun Drumming.”
Author Jayadev Das absorbed in drumming
“The idea came to me during a Rubettes reunion tour around Europe, when I gave a friend’s son some drumming lessons during a rare day off,” Jayadev says. “To get the beats home to him I used onomatopoeic phrases like “Nitai Gauranga, Nitai Gauranga” or “Ram Hanuman, Ram Ram Hanuman.” Each mantra was to be placed on a certain part of the drum eliciting the right kind of tones.”
Soon after, Jayadev suffered a heart-attack. Fortunately, he recovered – but while on bed rest, he found the time to write a book based on his idea.
The simple 25-page book contains easy-to-grasp instructions by Jayadev on how to play the Djembe. Accompanying these are colorful illustrations by Adonis Kopsahilis that allow learners to follow along on their own.
The book also shows students what a minim, crotchet, quaver and semiquaver look and sound like and how, when and where to play them. Triplets are then introduced, followed by lessons on how to play accents and phrases.
“All of this is easily absorbed and remembered due to the mantras that accompany the rhythms,” Jayadev says.
The cover of 'Fun Drumming'
With each of the book’s 20 exercises, the child will learn to become more proficient and to play more complex and fast rhythms and tempos. According to Jayadev, hearing the beats, feeling one’s body do what it does naturally, and engaging one’s mind with the mantras is an excellent mindfulness meditation that has a calming effect on the player.
As well as solo readers, “Fun Drumming” can be used by teachers for classes or one-to-one instruction. Jayadev is currently pursuing publication and approaching various educational institutions such as the Bhaktivedanta Manor Gurukula and the Krishna Avanti Schools to see if they are interested.
He also invites schools outside of the Hare Krishna Movement to use the book, saying he is sharing rather than imposing the mantras, and that people are welcome to use the sacred Names from their own tradition instead if they wish.
“Any music teacher with average ability in percussion will be able to teach and empower kids with this book,” he concludes. “If they haven’t got drums, desk tops will do, or even knees. I have facilitated classes around the country and I can tell you, it is such fun!”
[ drumming ] [ education ] [ jayadeva ] [ uk ]