Melbourne's longest running and most respected African Drumming Class is currently enrolling new students.

Please EMAIL Ray about spots in the new courses before they fill.

“Pereira’s exuberant playing transforms straightforward themes and harmonies into alpha- wave-inducing experiences, especially when he duets with fellow “AfroLankan” (their term) drummer Kanchana Karunaratna on “Anthony Blaise”.

The New York City Jazz Record review of Way Out West new CD.




“Ray has been instrumental in establishing the foundation for West African percussion in Australia and played a pioneering role in introducing African rhythms to the wider community through live performances and running workshops around the country.”

Stani Goma – presenter and producer of Flight 1067 to Africa, PBS radio, Melbourne.


African Drumming Student Testimonials

“Hi Ray, It’s been a big year for us since first joining your classes in January and then heading to Sri Lanka for the drum and dance tour. We’ve really enjoyed learning with you and your teachers, it’s been a good balance of both challenge and enjoyment. Thank-you for creating such a fine community of people and welcoming us to it. “
Mark & Sachi – Fitzroy group


“Prior to attending classes I had spent 15 years listening to World Music and building a collection of amazing looking drums which I loved to play.  The opportunity to attend classes with Ray has been a unique opportunity to gain a deep insight into African Music. So many things make sense now.  I hear World Music in a different way and have learnt how to play drums correctly.  A blazing djembe solo now seems within my reach!”

“Ray presents the many aspects of drum playing in an accessible and logical way.  I have gained an understanding of the cultural context of rhythms, the significance of a bell pattern and its relationship to time signatures.  I have learnt the subtle aspects of djembe technique and can now practice with purpose.  Thanks to Ray’s comprehensive teaching I have achieved a level playing that would not have been possible otherwise.”
Jeremy Guneratne – Student, Melbourne

I’ve been studying with Ray Pereira for one year now, starting as a complete beginner. I have found Ray’s teaching style to be extremely intensive, but digestible, fun and understanding. I feel he has a way of adapting his teaching techniques to the way different students learn. Every week I am blown away by how much we are able to learn in relatively short periods of time.
Ben Young – Student, Melbourne


“Initially I started with no musical background, but have always been drawn to percussion and specifically rhythm. I correctly assumed that learning African percussion was the way to go, and through my study I gradually realised thats where it all comes from! Ray has that capacity to not only understand the nature of the African rhythm but its connection and application to many other aspects of music, but to be able to teach it in such a way that it can be understood.
Its a long study to understand, learn and respect  3 things that never change with percussion musicality and can only be developed with time and practice. The tempo, the feel and to understand the groove!
The journey is slow, can be really difficult and everyone is different, but when you start to feel it, the journey is well worth it.”
Johann Misso – Student, Melbourne


“I have known, learned from and performed with Ray over the last five years.
Rarely do you meet a musician who’s depth in theoretical knowledge matches his performance ability. I first met Ray at a show and drum workshop in Fremantle, Western Australia. At the time he was touring nationally with Master Ghanaian musician, Nii Tettey Tetteh. Since that first meeting I have continued to study under Ray and his teachings have helped me progress in my career as a musician and gain work with national touring bands.

I have found Ray’s teaching style to be uncomplicated and effective and he maintains the authenticity of the music. His knowledge of West African rhythms have been meticulously studied and performed in his travels to Ghana and surrounding countries over the last sixteen years. He continues his travel to Ghana through his involvement with the study tour held by the Ghana Drum School in Accra. I was part of the study tour in 2008 and it was one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences of my life.”

“Ray has the unique ability to translate the knowledge and experience he has gained through his years of study and performance in a fluid and uncomplicated manner. He maintains the authenticity of the rhythms that he teaches and passes on the philosophy and cultural context of their origin.”

Kanchana – Musician and Teacher.


One of the strengths of Ray’s teaching is his ability to work with rank beginners to professional musicians. He can explain the rhythms in myriads of ways and encourages you to hear and learn the rhythms as they were taught: by watching and listening. Even for very confident musicians or people who have studied any notation this becomes a strength. You become better at hearing, you collaborate on rhythms better and it improves your musicianship on all instruments.
Learning from Ray is constantly challenging and always fun. You are always learning new rhythms and improving your technique, but the cultural contexts support your improvement as well. Ray really understands the dances, the songs, the places you would see the rhythms . He cares about being accurate and honouring the people he learnt them from. The reality of Africa is there in the class and you can feel it.
Studying in Sri Lanka has become a pilgrimage for me! It is like no other study or holiday tour I have ever been on. You leave being a tourist behind at the airport and become part of the community. The opportunities Ray and Kanchana give us to see the rhythms and dances that we study is powerful. We have access to the best performers on the island and you can feel it in their passionate performances and talent. It is also a great chance to concentrate on our own drumming and glean techniques that assist your playing. The tour is always full of colour, community and lots of curry. It is also relaxing and reenergising, it really motivates me to improve my own drumming and I come back every year more confident .
Jane Zanna – Student, Melbourne



Ray Pereira’s African Drumming team invite you to experience making powerful and inspiring music as part of a group while learning a traditional art form that has been around for centuries.

Ray is recognised as one of Australia’s leading percussionists and was a pioneer in introducing African drumming and rhythm to the wider community. The teachers at Ray Pereira African Drumming are all experienced professional musicians who have studied extensively with Ray and with master drummers in Africa. Ray and his team are passionate about music, rhythms and sharing what they have learned from traditional masters and the music industry with you.


<More about Ray and his teachers>         <View start dates for next Beginners Classes>



To find out more about African Drumming Classes in Melbourne, Please contact Ray.