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NUMBERS, CIRCLES AND PARALLEL UNISONS

Playing congas is for a good part a muscular affair: it’s about physical strength and the capacity of sustaining a prolonged effort without losing control, tone precision and rhythmic elegance; it is also about training your muscles to develop a high grade of flexibility, especially when it comes to play sets of three or more drums, where you have to extend your arms beyond the gravitational safety of one or two. In athletic terms conga playing is much closer to hitting a punching ball than to lifting dumbbells: control, rhythm, endurance and muscle tone must develop together; if one is left behind the others will not be of much use, and your playing will be poor.

 

A particular group of exercises on this method aim precisely at these issues, with particular attention given to toning the muscles of your torso and the back.

 

The “Parallel Unisons” series is designed to be played with two drums placed equidistantly from your centre; they can be the two lateral drums in a set of three, four or five drums, or they can simply be two congas placed laterally instead than in the usual diagonal shape. They are particularly helpful in toning the shoulders, pectoral and the back of your arms; your heart will be pretty grateful too.

 

Both the “Numbers” and “Circles” series are very helpful for extending the muscles of the torso and the back, and they will help you to develop the muscle memory necessary for hitting any of the drums in a setup in any sequence with perfect tone and accuracy.

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