The Best Zill Drills Workbook Ever

The last time I went to the Women’s Born to Drum camp  was in 2008. I took a middle eastern drumming class there with Susu Pampanin, the  noted middle eastern drummer/teacher and had fun on the doumbek though it is not a drum I’m experienced at playing.    At the very end of the camp, in the melee’ that ensues when everyone is saying goodbye and buying the yearly T-Shirt, I discovered that there was a  a zill drill workbook done by Bellydancer Zaina Zahesha, aka Terri Anne Gutierrez, for sale.  The workbook had notations for 12 classic  middle eastern rhythms bellydancers use. There was also a cd with these rhythms played expertly, clearly and  plane jane with no riffs or variations by Susu Pampanin.

At that time, I had no prayer of ever learning how to zill or bellydance, but my instincts told me these materials were quality, and I bought them. And whaddaya know, there were zills on sale half price  at the camp marketplace last minute, so I bought them too. I rationalized that I knew other people bellydancing locally, so maybe I could somehow connect to them and rhythm more by owning something they could use  or learn someday, much like a kid who feels like they have a little power   if they own the bat the neighborhood uses for backlot baseball games.

It’s been 2 years plus since I bought the zills, workbook and cd. The miraculously impossible has happened. I’m bellydancing and I’m learning zills. Today I looked up the zill notation for “Belodi” because I am learning how to play it on a doumbek and I have begun taking walks with my zills, practicing  patterns while I step.

It’s exhilarating to have come to this point. I’m grateful to Susu and Zaina because their materials make it possible for me to learn and progress at my own pace. Now I need to re-sew or replace my zill elastics, they are starting to stretch out and slip off my fingers while I’m zilling.  I’ve looked them up online and they have good, clear youtube videos demonstrating how the notations, hand strokes and music go together which are samples of their instructional DVD. The cd, workbook and a Dvd are available for sale online at

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About Shirley

I started this blog to expand and explore my rhythm horizons as a hand drummer. That exploration includes touching on the rest of my life and inner world as authentically and truthfully as possible.
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