When I'm asked how I learned kalimba, I tell this story: while I had known what a kalimba was since the age of two, I only discovered how wonderful kalimba music could be when I was 24 and I witnessed an amazing player close up. I immediately went out and bought a kalimba, and then I wandered alone in the wilderness for 10 years, finding my own way.
In that wandering, I found that my path branched in two opposing directions. On one, I tried to learn songs exactly, with precision and repeatability. On the other, I aimed for pure delight in the spontaneous flow that come only from improvisation. And over time I learned that these two approaches enhance each other.
Today we'll talk a little more about improvisation versus learning specific riffs and songs, and see two recently-made videos that illustrate these two starkly different ways of approaching kalimba playing.