PlayCajon Version 2.0

On Friday I was proud to launch version 2.0 of my cajon lesson website PlayCajon. It was the culmination of 6 months work on the re-design. We shot 20 new video lessons for a beginner course featuring Sela Cajons which now takes the over all quality of lessons along with the look and feel of the site to the next level.

The new lessons were all shot in a professional studio with the best audio and camera equipment. I really wanted to get the best possible sound and look with the new lessons and now we have that, we can move forward with each new lesson looking amazing.

PlayCajon now features three courses, a beginner course, an intermediate course, and an advanced course. Each course features 20 video lessons and are carefully constructed to advance you easily through your learning. Along with the courses, the site has new categories which organize the lessons in a way that makes it easy for you to quickly find the lesson you want.

The pricing on PlayCajon has stayed the same but now you also have the option to buy the individual courses if you wish.

PC Screen Shot

The look and feel of the site now has a simple design that is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of PlayCajon. It really has taken an immense amount of work and devotion to bring it to the world and I will continue to strive to make it even better.

– PJ

Visit PlayCajon


Cajon Community on Google+

If you have not already checked it out, Google plus is a fantastic way to share content, have discussion and build community. Google+ is also now now integrated with YouTube bringing your video content directly to your network. I have been on Google+ for a couple of years now and I have seen its format and layout improve a lot since Google launched it.

A great feature of Google+ is the communities. You can create a community of your own and invite people to join. Then you can share all manner of content and discuss.

I started the Cajon Players on Google+ community a while back and now it seems to be hotting up with many new members and great content. If you have something to share and want to engage in good discussion, we, in the cajon community would love to see you there.



New Cajon Lesson app for iPad

I am delighted to announce that my new Cajon Lesson app for iPad is now available and also FREE.

The app was conceived at the NAMM Show in Nashville in July 2013 when I met John Butler, founder of Atlas Apps. Atlas are an up and coming app development company based in Denver, CO. After having a conversation at our booth about how big the cajon is getting around the world, John told me that he wanted to create a good quality Cajon Lesson app that is free to download and has a good amount of free lesson content.  We decided that we should partner up to create the app.

So after a few months of development between Atlas Apps and Paul Jennings Music, Cajon Lessons for iPad is here. We are also currently working on the iPhone and Android versions right now. I will let you know when they are also available.

Here are some screen shots:

1 Home

3.1 Beginner Lessons

Download Cajon Lessons for iPad

Cajon Talk: Ross McCallum

Cajon Talk, episode 1. 

In this very first episode of Cajon Talk, I catch up with internet cajon educator Ross McCallum 9000 miles away in Melbourne, Australia via video chat. I ask Ross about his journey into cajon playing, cajon basics, teaching on YouTube and more. He also gives some great advise for new cajon players.

Ross McCallum on YouTube

Paul Jennings on YouTube

Cajon Talk with Special Guest: Ross McCallum

Ross Hangout

Cajon Talk Google+ Hangout with Ross McCallum LIVE here on Wednesday the 26th of June at 7:30 AM Central U.S time, 10:30pm Melbourne time, 12:30pm UTC (GMT)

Over the past five or so years there have been an increasing number of cajon related videos on YouTube and with it has come a growing number of individuals (like myself) who are offering lessons and tutorials on how to play the cajon. One of these educators who is proving to be very popular is Ross McCallum. McCallum who is based in Melbourne, Australia has been posting lessons to YouTube for only a couple of years now but has already attracted a following of almost 3500 subscribers.

Ross’s videos are popular due to the fact that Ross is not only a great cajon player but is also a gifted teacher. His Cajon Groove Guide which you can download for free, is a very well produced incite¬†into the cajon and a perfect starting point for a beginner cajon player.

On¬†Wednesday¬†the 26th of June at 7:30AM Central U.S time, 10:30PM Melbourne time, 12:30PM UTC (GMT) I will be chatting to Ross about his exploits as a cajon player, internet educator, cajon basics and more. We will be broadcasting live right here at and don’t worry if you miss it, the whole thing will be saved for continued viewing pleasure.

If you are on Google+ You can join the event or leave questions for us here.

I am very excited to talk to Ross and hope you enjoy the hangout.


10 things for beginning cajon

Cajon WEB184

These days there are many lessons & videos out there for the cajon but most people are really just looking for a starting point. Here are 10 things to get you going as a beginner cajon player.

1. Find yourself the right cajon. 

There are¬†literally¬†hundreds of cajon makers out there today. Some are big names in percussion like LP or ¬†Meinl. Some are lesser known specialist cajon makers like Kopf or Sela. It can be¬†daunting¬†figuring out which one is right for you and a lot of it can come down to budget.¬†Beginner¬†models start usually around $70 – $120USD, mid-range: $130 – $300 with pro cajons being $300 – $500 and upwards.¬†Do some looking around there can be some amazing deals out there¬†especially¬†with the lesser known names. Here’s some more info on¬†choosing¬†the right cajon.

2. Find a teacher

When I say find a teacher I am not talking only of a one-on-one human encounter. Your teacher may well come in the form of YouTube or some other video platform for lessons. There are lots of them out there and the internet has made it very easy to access a¬†wealth¬†of¬†knowledge¬†for all manner of subjects including cajon lessons. Some sites you may want to check out include: (shamless plug!) Heidi Joubert’s¬†¬†and Ross McCallum’s Cajon Groove Guide.

3. Posture

With the nature of the cajon and the way it is played, it is of the highest importance that you are not only sitting right but also playing without straining your self. Make sure you are sitting with your back straight for the most part, not hunched over but relaxed. It is not¬†necessary¬†to play much further than 8″ down the front of the cajon. All tones including the bass tone can be¬†achieved¬†right there. Paying close attention to this particularly in the beginning will greatly help your playing technique, speed & agility, and will also reduce¬†fatigue¬†and back pain.

4. Stretch

This is very important. If you dont stretch there is a good chance you will do yourself an injury and that will be a major setback. Here are some basic hand stretches.

5. Tones

Your first practice sessions with your new cajon should focus heavily on finding the basic tones of the cajon. The bass tone & the slap tone are the main two. I also teach a mid tone which is achieved mostly with the tips of the fingers while the hand is in a long cupping form and a high slap tone, achieved with the tips of the fingers on the top edge of the cajon. Through out your whole career as a cajon player or percussionist you will want to improve and refine your tone on your instrument.

6. Use a metronome

Practicing¬†with a metronome will greatly improve your¬†accuracy¬†in timing ¬†& speed. This may¬†annoy¬†the hell out of you at first with the mind numbing click but as you go on you will grow to love it as you can throw all kinds of timings off and all over the click of the metronome. Here’s a free online metronome.

7. Create a practice schedule

You will advance greatly if you work on the same things every day so make sure you repeat the same exercises on a daily basis. Do your stretches and warm-ups then take time on each thing that you are working on. Once you feel you are comfortable on those techniques, move on to new ones.

8. Develop your speed

It is very tempting to try to push the speed envelope as soon as possible. We are drummers so we have this burning desire deep inside to be fast at our chops. This is great but if we don’t take our time to¬†achieve¬†that speed in a gradual way or speedy fast licks will be sloppy and disapointing to us and all our friends. Take your time to develop your speed in a¬†measured¬†way. Noch up your metronome only when you feel that you can go on forever playing what your playing. Also, make sure to notch up the speed¬†gradually¬†maybe 5 BPM at a time. This will ensure your¬†success¬†are becoming the fastest cajon player there ever was.

9. Discover new styles

The most¬†hired¬†drummers & percussionists today are those of us who can play¬†different¬†styles. If you are in a super¬†successful¬†rock band¬†making¬†millions skip to number 10. ¬†The cajon was invented in the Afro-Peruvian¬†tradition so I would highly¬†recommend¬†learning some of it. Not only do we all owe it to the Afro-Peruvians for inventing the cajon but it is also a very cool¬†style¬†of music with all kinds of great grooves to learn. Flamenco is a huge one and very fun to play on cajon. You could start by learning some basic rumba¬†patterns¬†and work your way up to Bulerias. ¬†Learning diferent styles as a percussionist is invalubal and along the way you will learn all about new cultures and traditions. I can’t¬†recommend¬†enough.

10. Get out there

One of the most important ways to further your musicianship is to play with others. You will learn much faster when you can bounce ideas off others and get a feel for playing in a group. If you don’t know where to start look into local drumming groups. There are some in every town these days or if you know some other drummers or musicians, start¬†something¬†yourself. Playing music with others is why we do it. It’s a great way to have a lot of fun and build community.


The world record for the most cajon players at one time  in Lima, Peru 2012