Teacher Training Program

Djembe Drumming Classes Drum
DrumConnection Teacher Training Students

Program Description

The DrumConnection Teacher Training Program is designed to educate, train and certify qualified drummers to teach West African Style Hand Drumming classes. This program is for people who…

• are interested in expanding their drumming activities to include teaching 

• want to improve their drumming and performance skills more quickly

• are already drumming at a high level and want an intensive, effective and longer-term drumming experience.

There are 4 levels in the Teacher Training Program. The curriculum for each program level prepares the trainee to teach a different class level.

• Level 1 – Trains qualified students to teach Beginner Hand Drumming classes

• Level 2 – Trains graduates of the Level 1 Teacher Training Program to teach Beyond Beginner Hand Drumming classes

• Level 3 – Trains graduates of the Level 1 and 2 Teacher Training Program to teach Intermediate Hand Drumming classes

• Level 4 – Trains graduates of the Level 1-3 Teacher Training Program to teach Advanced Hand Drumming classes


The Level 1 (Beginner) program is the foundation of the Teacher Training Program. Successful completion of the Level 1 program is a prerequisite for all other levels in the Teacher Training Program. Each successive level builds on the material in previous levels.


Additional workshops and courses (Dunun Teacher Training, Technique Class Teaching, Solos Teaching, Teaching Drumming to Kids, Healing Drum Teaching, etc.) will also be offered as Continuing Education opportunities for Teacher Training Program participants.


These courses supplement the material in the Teacher Training Program, expand the trainee’s abilities and support a focus on specialized drumming and teaching skills.


Upon the successful completion of each level’s curriculum, the trainee may opt to take the Certification exam for that level, although Certification is not mandatory. Trainees can take the Certification exam as many times as they like until they pass.

While the Teacher Training Program focuses on preparing trainees to teach drumming classes, students who do not intend to teach but wish to deepen their drumming skills will find this intensive program very helpful in their development as drummers. Teaching drumming not only supports and develops the hand drumming community, it also greatly improves the teacher’s own drumming and performance skills. Teaching is also an excellent learning technique for drummers of all levels.

TDC Teacher Certification

Successful completion of each level of the Teacher Training Program is intended to lead to the trainee becoming certified to teach TDC Hand Drumming classes at the level they have trained for. The Certificate acts as both a diploma for the program level the trainee has completed and as a teaching credential.

To be certified as a TDC Drum Teacher, the trainee must fulfill the requirements for the level of training they are pursuing and successfully pass the Certification exam for that level. Upon passing the exam, the trainee will receive a Certificate of Completion from The DrumConnection that they can display and a wallet card. They will also be listed in The DrumConnection’s Faculty Directory on the DrumConnection Web site, and can promote themselves as a “Certified Hand Drumming Teacher”.

Trainees may become certified at a level beyond the one they would like to teach for their own drumming growth, and to support future teaching and playing possibilities. Trainees may schedule the Certification exam any time after the 3-month minimum enrollment period. If a trainee does not pass the exam, they may continue in the program and reschedule a second exam at a later date.

Certification Requirements

The Certification exam will test a trainee’s ability to understand and teach the following:

• Hand drumming technique

• Tuning/drum care

• All of the rhythms and parts in the curriculum for that level – the trainee must be able to play all parts of each rhythm without referring to the book

• The basic history, culture and background on drumming and rhythms appropriate to the level

By the time of the Certification exam, the trainee must also have completed the following:  • Actively assist in at least 8 classes or workshops (as many as 32 classes) at the trainee’s program level

• Lead at least 4 warm-ups (approximately 5-15 minutes each)

• Co-teach at least 2 classes

• Teach a full 1 1/2 hour class solo

TDC certification expires annually. A certified TDC Teacher is required to have 2 private lessons a year in order to renew their certification. This requirement ensures the teacher has up to date information about rhythms, drumming technique and other aspects of drumming, and can accurately convey this information to students.


The material covered in these private lessons may include rhythm reviews, teaching issues, TDC advancement, technique overview and suggestions for improvement for personal and professional development.


Qualifications for the Teacher Training Program

To qualify to enter the Teacher Training Program, a student must:

• Be currently enrolled as a TDC student in a class other than a Beginner Hand Drumming course, or receive the Executive Director’s approval to enter the program.

• Complete and sign the Teacher Training Program Enrollment Form and pay the first month program tuition of $275.-

• Complete an entrance interview with the Executive Director.

Teacher Training Program Requirements

Once enrolled in the program, the trainee must:

• Attend a regular TDC drum class as a student throughout the duration of the program (absences must be made up by the end of the current semester)

• Attend, observe and assist in classes at the trainee’s program level as requested

• Teach mini-private lessons to Beginner drumming students (10 MPLs minimum at 10 minutes each)

• Attend weekly private lessons with Alan Tauber or other qualified instructor.

• Attend TDC workshops to learn, assist and teach specific drumming skills and rhythms

• Attend scheduled teacher meetings

Once a trainee has completed a program level and is certified to teach at that level, they must commit to teaching hand drumming classes for TDC for one year (4 semesters) before progressing to the next level in the program.


This required teaching experience acts as a “teaching apprenticeship”, and is necessary to give the new teacher valuable practice with their teaching skills in a classroom setting. Teachers learn as much while teaching their classes as they do while taking classes and private lessons in the Teacher Training Program.


New teachers will continue to receive training and support from TDC faculty and staff during their required teaching year.

Program Duration

Trainees must enroll in the Teacher Training Program for a minimum of 3 months at each level, and they may continue in the program for up to a year. The approval of the Executive Director is required in order to remain in the program at the same level beyond a year. When a trainee has successfully completed all of the requirements for the level they are enrolled in, they may take the Certification exam for that level.


The tuition for the Teacher Training Program is $275 a month. This fee covers all TDC workshops, classes and private lessons taken by the trainee during the month. The Teacher Training Program fee does not cover workshops taught by non-TDC teachers. Trainees will instead receive a 10% discount on those workshops.

Tuition payments are due on the first day of each month unless other arrangements have been made. Delinquent tuition payments may result in probation or expulsion from the program. Tuition may be paid by check or credit card. Automatic credit card payments may be arranged with the TDC office. Contact Pam Williams at pam@drumconnection.com or call the TDC office at 781-316-8068 to make financial arrangements as needed.

Teaching TDC Classes

Trainees may begin teaching classes before completing certification at the Executive Director’s discretion. Trainees are expected to teach classes as part of their learning experience in the Teacher Training Program, and are not paid for teaching. Teachers who have successfully taken the Certification exam for their training level are eligible to be paid for teaching TDC classes. Teachers are paid by check upon the successful completion of the current semester of classes.

Suspended Enrollment

Should a trainee need to interrupt their enrollment in the program, a written notice to Alan Tauber, the TDC Executive Director, is required. Trainees may suspend their enrollment for up to one year without penalty. They may return to the program pick up where they left off and schedule the Certification exam for their level once the requirements for that level have been met.