I suggest the “One step at a time program”! How I see it is that for many of us, if we are going to study and learn traditional drumming it is important to focus on learning only one rhythm arrangement at a time when we are learning new material.
Play and learn one dunun at a time starting with the kinkini *(the smallest one which holds simple beats). Learn to come into each part from the call in or “break”. The opening call or break will always lead to and show you where “the one” is, the the start and connecting beat for all rhythms. The sang ban is the middle drum and the dununba is the lowest drum.
When studying djembe and dunun learn to exit the rhythm correctly as well from the call out or break. If you do not own dunun you can practice on pots and pans if you have to. I have used large garbage cans turned upset down with home made mallets before a swell as congas turned sideways.
When you practice with other like minded people please be sure that the intent is to construct the rhythm correctly and accurately at first rather then creating a free for all jam session. If you take your time and even play the composition very slowly (with out competition) the arrangement will teach you so much! It’slike a living , breathing entity!
These different angles, vantage points and looks or “routes into the rhythm” are what helps to build different creative ideas later on as well. The more you play a simple part with pleasure and openness, the more the part will groove, the person next to you will feel it and groove and the whole group will groove. Groove is contagious. It takes letting go of your ego and surrender though.
After you have learned and memorized all this (the full arrangement) you can start to learn the solo techniques that go to the rhythm arrangement. Keep in mind that a good solo weaves through the rhythm not just on top of it. You can weave or play on top. However, when you weave you really connect with others as well.
Start your solo simply.
But it is my personal experience that I would like to share with you today. And what i have found in my 40+ years of playing is that there are many different and valid approaches to learning. Find what works for you. Make combinations. Be open minded and don’t get stuck.