Ancient Ways provides opportunities to study and play the marimba music of Zimbabwe, both internationally, and locally in the mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon. This picture shares a moment at the Nhimbe for Progress Community Center where children have gathered after school and on weekends to learn traditional and contemporary music on marimba, with song, drum and dance, as part of our Youth Well Being Program.

You Don't Have To Go All The Way To Zimbabwe

To Learn How To Play Marimba!

Youth Marimba Classroom at Nhimbe for Progress Zimbabwe

Mid-Willamette Valley LOCAL Days & Locations

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Weekly Zimbabwean music classes for children (6 and up) and adults have been offered through us on a year round basis for 25 years. See our FAQs for more information. Feel free to email or call with questions.

Come play with us!

Ancient Ways Marimba Lessons & Workshops
Ancient Ways Marimba Lessons & Workshops
Music Lessons are offered weekly in the mid-Willamette Valley for various experience levels. Workshops are created for special learning opportunities, most often with visiting teachers. Please indicate which class night you attend, or which workshop you want to attend. Please remember to include 4% ($4 per $100) for the credit charge. Thank you!

Mondays and Tuesdays in Albany, Oregon (and sometimes Lacomb)

During the school year, classes are offered by Ancient Ways at 1115 28th Ave SW, Albany Oregon, (First United Methodist classroom). Email or call for specific classroom details once you have signed up for a class. In summer, some classes are held in Lacomb.

We explore a bit of music theory but primarily the music is learned aurally and comes by listening, watching and doing.  We also get some cultural grounding from hearing more about the music's history, the meanings and significance of the songs, and a bit about the rich heritage of Zimbabwean people. Meet us in the classroom:

  • Monday 5:45-7 p.m. CHIPINDURA Marimba.  This is an experienced group.  If you have percussion history and are able to teach yourself at home through excellent study habits, this might  be a class for you, if there is an opening.  Coming into this group would require private lessons to learn the songs.  The primary goal and some of the repertoire of this class is mbira-based music (poly-rhythmic).
  • Tuesday 5:45-7:00 p.m. MAVAMBO Marimba - Beginning players.  This is where we learn the basic fundamentals of playing marimba with our community.
  • Tuesday 7:00-8:30 p.m. TAMUKA Marimba - Intermediate players (3 years or more experience).  From 7 pm to 7:15 we offer cross-over training to bring the beginning and intermediate students together for a couple of songs as appropriate.  If you have percussion history and are able to teach yourself at home through excellent study habits, this might  be a class for you, if there is an opening.  Coming into this group would require private lessons to learn the songs.  Much of the repertoire of this class is contemporary tunes.

Please email or call about Tutoring.  Private lessons are a great way to improve if you ever feel stuck, or are interested in progressing a bit faster.

How & What Do We Learn Together?

The Ancient Ways' community ensembles study contemporary and traditional songs, and original pieces that are developed in a Zimbabwean style. Students study rhythm and Zimbabwean music using marimba, vocals, drums, mbira (an ancient instrument made of wood with metal keys) and hosho (maranka gourd rattles). A tape recorder or video camera is extremely helpful to hearing the music outside of the class setting. This is one of the ways to "get it inside of you" if you only play with the ensemble weekly.

A marimba is not initially required to take lessons. If a student decides to pursue studying, a marimba will eventually be needed for practice. A limited number of marimbas are available for weekly rent. If enough students are interested, a community marimba building party is organized so that each person can make their own. One doesn’t need to be a carpenter to build their marimba.

Zimbabwean music has been passed on for centuries in an aural tradition. We study in groups of about 8 people, also without written music. Individuals learn to listen, be, and refine their innate ability to play music instinctively. You'll be amazed at what you can do!

Here are some clips from songs recorded in 2002:

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Amaxoxo
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Hombi
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Kupenga
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Nhemamusasa
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Zomba
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Marimba Friend in Zimbabwe