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Youth Villages’ Therapeutic Drumming Instructor’s Training (TDIT)

If you have always wanted to use drumming to work with kids who are struggling, either with behavioral and emotional problems, or legal trouble, this training will prepare you to do just that using the model developed at Youth Villages over the last 15 years.

Open to advanced beginning drummers and more experienced drummers, Youth Villages’ therapeutic drumming program has several unique qualities that set it apart from other rhythm-based therapies found around the country

  1. The program is based on traditional djembe music and culture from the Malinke people in West Africa, as taught by Tam Tam Mandingue, Mamady Keita’s international djembe school.
  2. Ashikos, dununs and djembes used in the program are built and maintained by the youth in Youth Villages’ programs.
  3. The processes of initiation, mentoring and rites of passage are talked about and used in the teaching of the music.
  4. Trainees are taught to use drumming as a way to teach the four core academic subjects: math, science, language arts and social studies. Part of the training manual includes all of the relevant performance standards for Georgia for grades 1-12.
  5. Public performance is emphasized to reconnect youth with their communities in a powerful and positive way.
  6. Group management, dealing with behavior problems and forming therapeutic relationships are not only talked about but groups of kids are brought in with whom trainees can practice their skills.
  7. The use of storytelling and therapeutic metaphor in the therapeutic process is explored.
  8. Performance logistics and skills, including basic soloing skills, are part of the curriculum.

This training is for people committed to using the djembe as a tool for healing and social change. It prepares graduates to work in schools, juvenile detention centers, gang diversion programs, after-school programs, residential treatment centers and other programs dedicated to helping youth in crisis change and grow in positive, constructive ways.

Going through this training and becoming a certified therapeutic drumming instructor is a serious commitment. It will require a strong focus on not only working in class but also in individual practice and creating opportunities to practice in your own community. It also includes what we refer to as the deeper work of the djembe: dealing with, and talking about, our own issues that arise in the process of growing as djembe students and teachers. This training is challenging to the degree that everyone gets in touch with their own wounds. The ability to face emotional wounds in the group and work through them is essential before we can truly use the djembe to help others.

Each month, new material will be introduced, and trainees are expected to practice between classes. For most drummers who enter this training, the year is marked by a steadily increasing amount of teaching and working in their community. By the time the training is finished, most participants have established themselves in their communities as drummers and teachers.

Training Logistics

Schedule: Certification training takes place over the course of a year. Training sessions are held at the Joseph M. Brown Therapeutic Drumming Center at the Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus at 4685 Dorsett Shoals Road in Douglasville, Ga., 30135.

Next training date: TBA

Length of training: 12 months, for a total of 14 days;

Cost: $145 per day of training, payable on the day of training;

Training Materials:Students will be provided with a training manual, a copy of Mamady Keita’s book, “My Life for the Djembe,” a copy of Michael Meade’s CD, “Branches of Mentoring,” and an instructional DVD produced by Youth Villages with all rhythms being taught.

Attendance: Each group member is a unique and valuable contributor to the training, and the cumulative nature of the material makes regular attendance essential. The learning community we create each year depends on a consistent attendance by all trainees. Over the year’s time, each drummer is allowed to miss one class for any reason. For absences exceeding one, participants are required to pay the full class fee of $145 and contact the training group ahead of time to inform them of their absence. For Youth Villages employees and Americorps volunteers, more than one absence during the year may result in termination of training.

For more information, contact:

Tom Harris
Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus
4685 Dorsett Shoals Road
Douglasville, GA 30135
Campus Phone: 770-852-6300