For the past three Sundays I have had the pleasure to participate in a rhythm clinic at Alan Jones Academy of Music (AJAM) hosted by rhythm master Tyson Stubelek. Tyson is an amazing person and highly knowledgeable guide for musicians of any stripe seeking to explore the world of rhythm.

It’s been fun practicing challenging rhythmic concepts in a group environment. The sessions were packed with enthusiastic folks all seeking to improve their rhythmic skills. The main focus of both sessions so far has been the African 12/8 bell pattern Matekpo from the Ewe people of Southern Ghana.

The Matekpo bell pattern is derived from the Ewe phrase “matekpo matekpo kple ku dza”. It is explained in detail in this video…

Rhythm Quest description from the Facebook event page:

The mission of Sunday Rhythm Quest is to do that which is generally known to be a good idea, but seldom ever done: practice music as a group. The starting point of this project will be work on difficult rhythmic concepts such as multi-meter vamps, modulations, and difficult tempos. We will spend a very long while on each practice element. Often, the metronome will be employed until such time as the concept is deeply ingrained in all of us (to the point of musical freedom).

Participants’ musical experience has ranged from advanced (high school aged) to professional. Many top level jazz musicians in town have attended, including Alan Jones himself.

The Rhythm Quest meets at AJAM every Sunday 11am to 1pm, and is free and open to the public. The space is limited to about 15-20 people so get there early if you want a spot.