One of the more minimal alternatives to playing the modern day big drum kits or multi-pad drum machines is the Cajon. Coming from the Spanish word for “box,” the Cajon is just that, a rectangular cuboid shaped percussion instrument originating in Peru back in the eighteenth century.
While its origins are based in Afro-Peruvian and other styles of Latin American music, the Cajon has gained popularity more recently within contemporary styles of music such as Rock, Pop, Jazz, and Blues.
Unlike the larger and louder drum sets normally associated with those genres, the Cajon offers a softer and more intimate sound which ideal for smaller settings and also unplugged sets. If you are looking for an alternative to the more traditional styles of contemporary drumming then the first thing you need to do is buy the best Cajon at an affordable price and this review will help you with that.
Learning to play the Cajon can be broken down into a few steps.
While it’s not the most complex instrument out there, it nonetheless will take time and practice to hone your skills. The first step after purchasing a Cajon is to find yourself an instructor. Probably the easiest way to go about this (depending on where you live) would be the internet. There are a plethora of sources out there to help guide you in learning the tips, tricks, and techniques to playing the Cajon.
Just remember that some instructors will be more attune to the style and genre of music you are, so don’t just settle for the first person you come across. Once you’ve found the right Cajon and instructor you need to set a regular practice schedule.
A truth found in all walks of life, if you don’t set aside a chunk of specific time throughout the week to work at your Cajon playing skills, then you will ultimately end up doing something else. Life is full of random events which pop up when we least expect them and the key to excelling at anything which requires hours of study is to schedule it into your day. Once you have your Cajon, instructor, and practice time, then it’s time to get to work.
Here are a few of tips to help you as you move forward.
First remember to keep good posture. This instrument is unique in that you sit on top of it while you play. Obviously your height is going to determine which Cajon you buy and you should always be sitting with your back straight with your hands able to reach down about eight inches or so onto the Cajon.
Also your feet should be flat on the floor. Avoid slouching over as this will lead to strains and pains in your back, and make sure to stretch out before and after you play. Keeping your back loose will help avoid annoying injuries.
Next become familiar with the three main slap tones of the Cajon which are the bass tone, high tone, and slap tone. There is much to be said about these three slaps (and a variety of other slaps as well), but I will leave that for you to discover. When you are practicing I would suggest employing the use of a metronome to help you keep rhythm.
The Cajon is unique in that many of the slaps occur in between beats and the unskilled player might find it difficult to feel the flow of the music without a metronome to help guide them. The last bit of advice is once you have put in some work becoming proficient at the Cajon, take it out into public and play for people. You will never really know how well you are doing until you test yourself in front of an audience.