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About Brothers in Beat

Brothers in Beat started as a team building drumming group but it quickly became much more than that.

At our team building events we often ask people to raise their hands if they can play a musical instrument. It’s amazing to see how incredibly few people have this valuable and fulfilling life skill. Perhaps 1 in 200 or 300 people raise their hands. That’s disappointing and sad to me because I know what being able to play a musical instrument has meant to me.

I identified two barriers to entry that is the cause for the relatively few people who become even casual musicians:

1. The lack of availability of a musical instrument at school or at home. I believe this is at least partly because of the high price of musical instruments (in South Africa at least).

2. The mountains of boring theory one has to endure before you get to the fun stuff, actually playing. Many kids give up at the theory point because it’s boring.

So in essence, many people don’t even try to learn to play a musical instrument because it takes a relatively large investment in time and money to just get started.

Brothers in Beat is developing and promoting musicianship, especially in poorer areas. Our dream/goal/mission is to cultivate more musicians by addressing the above two barriers to entry and making it as simple, inexpensive, and as easy as possible to gain that first bit of momentum.

Brothers in Beat enables everybody – even those who limit their musical expression to secretly singing in the shower – the chance to get hooked on the thrill of jamming with friends to the accompaniment of their favourite songs.

I came to realise how, while growing up, it kept me out of trouble and contributed to my sense of self-worth.

I also realised how I instantly sensed a kinship with other musicians and they with me, which means the moment we meet we’re almost instantly friends and we know right off the bat that we have something major in common.

Based on a decade of experience with using the djembe drum for team building and entertainment at corporates and schools, I designed a more beginner-friendly, funkier version of the traditional djembe called…

“The JAMbe”

The JAMbe was designed to get people of all ages, but especially kids to take an interest in playing a musical instrument. It’s not expensive, thus taking care of the first barrier to entry.

As for the second barrier to entry, it comes with a SUPER simple course (I wrote it imagining I’m speaking to 4 year olds). It goes straight into the fun stuff, developing basic playing skills, and leaving the theory for later. This allows kids to build that first bit of momentum and excitement that will carry them to the point where they are good enough to want to continue to develop and venture into the theory side of things.

The JAMbe has many cool advantages over the traditional djembe drum:

1. The JAMbe comes in four parts. Kids assemble and tune it themselves so there’s an educational element to constructing it.

2. The JAMbe is super easy to tune. You just turn the foot section. A traditional djembe drum requires an expert and an hour or so to tune it.

3. It’s super easy to replace the drum head. You just unscrew the top part and put on a new skin and screw the top part back. It’s literally THE easiest and fastest drum ever made in terms of tuning and repair, which is a real pain with djembes and other kinds of drums.

4. It doesn’t use animal skins, so not only is it sparing one times billy goat, but it’s impossible to break if you play it with your hands as intended.

5. It doesn’t use wood for the body, which spares one times tree, makes it super light-weight, and we are looking at making the drum from recycled plastic.

6. It has holes in the foot section. That wasn’t just to make it look awesome, it allows young children (and ladies with skirts at team building events) to leave the drum on the floor while playing it. If you play a traditional djembe drum on the floor, it doesn’t sound like anything because the air cannot escape. The JAMbe’s foot allows the air to travel freely.

Have a look at this video clip about the JAMbe

As you can see, once Olie completed the super easy-to-learn illustrated course material, he was able to play the JAMbe like a pro.

The impact of playing a musical instrument on mental, emotional and psychological development and on behavior in dogs is not well documented, however in children, it is extremely well documented. This is why we feel it’s so important to promote musicianship among school children.

Being able to play a musical instrument changes lives forever. It changed ours as Brothers in Beat and every musician you speak to will tell you the same thing.