Drummers! Learn how to play the cajon from one of the instrument’s leading practitioners, educators, and ambassadors: percussionist/vocalist Mona Tavakoli, co-founder and co-director of the Rock N’ Roll Camp For Girls LA, who produced this lesson video exclusively for Drum Magazine.
Our January 2018 issue cover artist helped bring the cajon into mainstream popular music in North America in recent years while collaborating, recording, and performing with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and her own band, Raining Jane. In her interview with Drum, Tavakoli describes her path from concert and marching percussion and drum set to “the box,” which further inspired her percussive artistry.
“I mean, I love the kit,” Tavakoli shared with Drum. “But the footprint of the cajon is so much smaller, yet still I can get so much out of this tiny box. I can scale everything down. And with the right cajon you can get so many of the sounds that a drum set can provide too.”
In this video, Tavakoli, using her signature Latin Percussion MT Box cajon, draws upon her background and experience as a drum set player to demonstrate how drum set parts translate to the cajon, with careful attention to hand and foot techniques for best emulating drum set sounds on the cajon. She also presents insights into how she developed her personal approach to the instrument, including her “cricket” technique for varying the cajon’s pitch. This lesson includes techniques for creating bass drum, hi-hat, snare, and tom sounds, as well as using brushes for additional textures. She also plays a variety of grooves to demonstrate the cajon’s musical versatility.