2021 Spring Spectacular Workshop 4 Spotlight:

“Masterful Zill Patterns” by Cassandra Shore

As we prepare for SPRING!!, we are excited to learn more about the Guild’s SPECTACULAR workshops through interviews with our four instructors. Cassandra is one of our four instructors and her workshop is “Masterful Zill Patterns.It is scheduled for Sunday, May 23 at 3:00 pm. 

Spring Spectacular Workshops are now open for registration! Guild members enjoy discounted pricing!

Workshop Description:

Learn to play some awesomely masterful patterns on your finger cymbals, and dance with them as well! Cassandra will teach expert patterns that will enhance your playing ability and allow you freedom to syncopate, and flow with your dance music. Not appropriate for beginning finger cymbal players. Be sure to have your finger cymbals ready.

Do you hear groans in your classes when Zill practice time is announced? Given all the time it takes to master, what could possibly be worth the challenge of blending Zill work with your dance practice? Here’s a sneak peek interview with Cassandra and some of her insights on Zills and Zill masters. 

Who inspired you as you developed your abilities to play Zills as an accompaniment while performing? 

It was a required skill when I started performing. You learned to play cymbals and dance or you did not get hired. The bands in the U.S. did not have sagat (finger cymbals or zills) players, so dancers played throughout their shows. The Turkish dancers in the U.S. were very influential in this. 

The two best players I know in the U.S. are Aida al-Adawi (San Francisco, currently in Detroit area) and the late Ibrahim Farrah (master teacher from NYC), but almost all the dancers that preceded me, and were my contemporaries in the profession, were good cymbal players.

Which is your preference: to play multiple styles and types of Zills or use those that you’ve used for some time? 

I use different sets of cymbals for different show settings. I have the old stainless-steel clackers I use in class, so I can be heard and differentiated from the students. For inside shows I usually use my Turquoise International size B cymbals - either the brass or the silver coated, because they don’t have a long-extended ring and are not too loud for recorded music. For outdoor shows with the band (or loud recorded music) I have a choice of my Zildjians, or some custom–made cast brass cymbals – they are louder than the Turquoise (or Saroyan) and have a beautiful sound decay, and the Zildjians have nice harmonic tones, but only outside! When playing with the band for volume and interesting sound I use my large cast-brass Egyptian sagat or smaller Tura cymbals (they are still pretty big!). 

Which Middle Eastern dancer do you admire for their Zill playing? 

The Turkish dancer Tulay, and all of the Nawar dancers in Egypt or Lebanon can play well. 


What is it about them that inspires you, as well as you admire? 

Good timing and technique – not interfering with movements or the music; understanding of the dance rhythmic structure.

What are the best ways to develop excellent Zill skill? 

Developing any skill is a matter of practice, practice, practice.

Do you see trends in Zills and how they are used? 

The use of cymbals throughout a dance show is mostly out-of-fashion these days. Dancers in the Arab-speaking countries of origin rarely play them anymore; they hire a sagat player in the band. They might play them during a baladi. Just like any other trend in dance -- it comes and it goes. 

What story or experiences have you had that helped inspire you to become a master in ‘Zilling’?  

It was a requirement!!!!

Save the date and plan to register for this class with a master of Zills!

You’re invited to join Cassandra on Sunday, May 23, from 3 to 5 pm CT to learn more about advanced Zill patterns. Do you know “4s”, 4-4-7, or 3-1-3-1-3? If the answer is yes, then this class is designed for you. 

Spring Spectacular Workshops are now open for registration! Guild members enjoy discounted pricing!

For more information, click here for the Facebook event page. 

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