Learn to play Conga Drums & other Afro-Latin Percussion

Have you always wanted to be able to play conga drums and other Afro-Latin percussion? Now you can learn how, at Estudio ‘El Bohío’ in Hadley MA.

Brandon Marger teaches the authentic instruments and rhythms of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and other great musical cultures in the Americas. The curriculum covers both traditional folkloric rhythms, and applications to to modern musical styles. 

Brandon Marger has studied at the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba in La Habana, and at the  Balé Folclórico da Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. During a career that has lasted more than two decades Brandon has performed with dozens of bands throughout the Americas, accompanied a variety of Afro-Latin dance and performed with several folkloric groups. Brandon’s teaching incorporates both the traditional wisdom of the masters from whom he learned, and the practical, real world lessons gleaned from his extensive experience as a professional performing musician.

Brandon Marger has been teaching ensemble classes and private lessons since 1991. He has taught special workshops at several of the region’s colleges. Brandon teaches students of all ability levels, from people with no previous musical training to veteran musicians who are looking to learn something new.http://www.folkcuba.cult.cuhttp://www.balefolcloricodabahia.com.brshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1
Brandon Marger is a knowledgable, dedicated and passionate educator who has been teaching Afro-Latin drumming and percussion since 1991. 

Brandon teaches the instruments, rhythms, musical genres and cultures of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil. Besides focusing on these three major musical cultures, Brandon also teaches a variety of other rhythms and musics from throughout the west african diaspora in the Americas. Brandon’s curriculum includes both traditional folkloric music, and applications of folkloric instruments and rhythms to modern popular musics.

Brandon Marger is a natural educator for whom teaching is equally important as performing. Teaching is not just another side job as it is for so many other musicians. Before teaching drumming Brandon formerly taught high school social studies.

Private lessons with Brandon Marger at Estudio El Bohio last for one hour, and cost $20 per  lesson. Payment can be made at the end of each lesson, and must be paid in cash only. Lessons canceled with less than 12 hours notice by telephone must be paid for in full.

To schedule a lesson contact Brandon Marger.

Educational Programs - Workshops & Teaching Residenciesprograms.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0

Besides teaching at Estudio ‘El Bohío,’ Brandon Marger is also available for workshops and longer term teaching residencies at your institution. Brandon offers introductory workshops in Afro-Latin drumming and percussion as well as specialized ongoing ensemble classes. Presentations can also include lectures on the rhythms, instruments and musical cultures of Cuba, Brazil and/or Puerto Rico; and the profound effects of the west african diaspora on music throughout the Americas. Brandon can also work with existing ensembles (such as jazz bands) to integrate Afro-Latin rhythms and instruments and compositions into their repertoires.

Click here for more information about Brandon Marger’s workshops, teaching residencies and educational programs.

Estudio ‘El Bohío’
Estudio ‘El Bohío’ is Brandon Marger’s teaching and rehearsal studio in Hadley MA. The studio provides a cozy setting for teaching private drum lessons, but is large enough for teaching ensemble lessons or hosting group rehearsals as well. The studio houses part of Brandon’s extensive inventory of drums and percussion instruments from Africa, The Caribbean and South America. The studio also contains a vintage Fender Rhodes electric piano, a medium sized sound reinforcement system and a computer based digital audio recording system.

Brandon Marger’s Estudio ‘El Bohío’ is located at:

2 Highland Circle
Hadley MA 01035

Find Estudio ‘El Bohío’ on Google Maps:
Resources for drum students

FAQs for new Students
If you are considering beginning to study Afro-Latin drumming and percussion, or if you have already scheduled your first lesson please read this collection of frequently asked questions for answers to many of your common questions. You will also find useful information that will help you to get the most out of your lessons.

FAQs about buying your first conga drum
If you are going to learn how to play conga drums, you will need to have at least one drum at home to practice what you learn in your lessons. This document provides answers to many of the questions frequently asked by new students about purchasing their first conga drum(s). 

Learning to play Congas & Afro-Latin Percussion
This is some information about the general process I use to teach congas and afro-latin percussion, to help you understand a little of the method to my madness (or madness to my method) right from the start, and so you will have some idea of what is to come as you begin your study of this beautiful instrument, music and culture. 

Listen To The Music
A central part of learning Afro-Latin music is active listening to the music. It is impossible to play a new type of music if you don’t know what that music is supposed to sound like and feel like. I often am asked by students “what music should I be listening to?” I never have a good specific answer to that question, because what students really should be listening to is a broad cross-section of Afro-Latin music. This guide will help you get started on your journey into the world of Afro-Latin music.newstudentfaqs.htmlnewstudentfaqs.htmlnewstudentfaqs.htmldrumfaqs.htmldrumfaqs.htmllearning.htmllisten.htmllisten.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1shapeimage_5_link_2shapeimage_5_link_3shapeimage_5_link_4shapeimage_5_link_5shapeimage_5_link_6shapeimage_5_link_7shapeimage_5_link_8

Technique and Exercises

Here is a copy of the handout for new students which explains basic conga drum technique, and the list of exercises used to develop that technique.

Syncopation Exercises

This a series of exercises to help students become familiar with some different ways that the beat is commonly subdivided, and to help students become comfortable with syncopated rhythms which fall on odd subdivisions of the beat.