Arlington shop makes a connection with drumming



Alan Tauber, owner/founder of DrumConnection.

By Cindy Cantrell GLOBE CORRESPONDENT  APRIL 01, 2016


Alan Tauber was 4 years old when a marching band parading past his Main Street home in Waltham inspired a lifelong love of drumming. He began giving lessons when he was still in high school and played in Boston bands until 1990, when he opened DrumConnection in Arlington. The community school and shop offers eclectic drums, full percussion repairs, traditional African drum classes for all ages and levels, drum circles, and a three-week cultural and musical immersion in Guinea to learn djembe and dunun drumming, Malinké music, and dancing.


Q. Can anyone learn to drum?

A. Absolutely. Even babies can play a few sounds on the drum.


Q. How young can children begin lessons?

A. Our classes start with 3- to 5-year-olds and involve lots of singing, traditional African game-playing, and drumming, which they love. Kids have a lot of energy and excitement, and they love to have fun, all of which is facilitated by our expert teachers.


Q. Do some students, whether they’re kids or adults, simply have no rhythm?

A. That’s a well-founded fear, but it’s not realistic. Out of the 100,000 people I’ve taught over the 25 to 30 years I’ve been doing this, maybe a few couldn’t learn because they had a social phobia or other issue that didn’t allow them to really ‘be’ there to learn. You need to be present to drum. Drumming is a powerful tool, an enriching and healing endeavor that can be part of a holistic approach to staying young and healthy.


Q. What is it about drumming that is so special?


A.If you drum for just five minutes, I defy you to tell me any problems you may have had when you came in. Playing music is one of the most demanding cognitive and neural challenges, requiring very accurate timing and multiple actions to produce authentic sound and rhythm. No other activity gives your brain the workout that drumming or playing another musical instrument does.


Q. What happens on the annual trips you lead to Africa?

A. It’s an intense experience. Drumming actually becomes secondary to experiencing the African villagers and their cultural society. I’ve been doing these trips for 15 years, and I can tell you, you cannot live the same life when you return. A part of you will always stay in Africa.


DrumConnection is at 177 Mass Ave. in Arlington. Call 781-316-8068 or visit


Cindy Cantrell may be contacted at


Alan Tauber Biography


DrumConnection is New England's premier hand-drumming school and drum center. We are proud to teach the real traditions from many countries in Africa and South America all under one roof. Alan Tauber, the founder and director of the school has been drumming for 57 years and sharing his love his of drumming and culture with close to 100,000 students worldwide. Along with yearly student trips to Africa run by DrumConnection are our nightly hand-drumming classes for beginners to professional drummers. Our approach to drumming is traditional, explained clearly, community centered, and most of all, fun. 


--- Alan Tauber is a gifted percussionist, musician, facilitator and educator who has spent over 48 years sharing his passion for drumming and healing with the community. In 1990 he established DrumConnection, New England's largest hand drumming school located near Boston in Arlington, Massachusetts. Alan has taught West African, Haitian, and Cuban percussion to thousands of students. Over the years Alan has specialized in West African music of the Djembe and Doundoun drums, studying and performing with Master Drummers such as Mamady Keita, Ibrahima Camara, M'Bemba Bangoura, Babatunde Olatunji, Nansedy Keita, Billy Konaté and Sayon Camara. His quest for preserving tradition and imparting the cultural context of the music to his students lead him to Guinea, West Africa, where he met Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté. 


Alan now travels regularly to Guinea for inspiration and knowledge from the source. He is the first to bring Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté to Boston to teach traditional Malinké rhythms to our growing community. Alan includes song, dance, movement, cultural relevance and traditonal spirituality of rhythms where appropriate. 'The drum and the dance are never separated. 


The song and the reason one sings need to be honored, always.' In West Africa, the birthplace of rhythm, Alan finds himself in a rare and beautiful situation. His social awareness and his insight into the music, culture and current conditions of Guinea and close personal relationships with the citizens of Guinea, make him a valuable resource to the New England area. 


Alan’s associations include, New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music and Harvard University as well as The Percussive Arts Society. Alan founded DrumConnection in 1990. DrumConnection is internationally known as a deep source of traditional knowledge of the hand-drumming of Africa. Alan resides with his lovely wife Fanta Keita Tauber, in Arlington MA and has residence in Simbaya, Guinea, West Africa. 


Specialties:Travel to Africa (Guinea) planning and implementation, in-school drumming program ages 7 up, public and private school administration of percussion programs, healing with drumming (20 years experience) treatments with elder population, special needs children, kids at risk, depression, anxiety and more profound emotional and psychiatric conditions. Please ask for your specific needs.

My First Teacher - Babatunde Olatunji (over 40 years ago)