Drums have been around for thousands of years and across all cultures, so they are melded into our psyche. The first sound we hear in our mothers’ wombs is the sound of a drumming rhythmic heart beat. Put your hand over your heart and feel your own beating drum.
Feeling this type of beat recreated through a hoop drum can lead to a meditative state of mind, This is created through theta brain waves. I was once part way through such a drumming session when an old man stopped me. His first words were ‘look at your eyes you got to be on drugs’
Drumming can help you meditate very quickly without the need for substances to alter the state of your mind. So drumming is particularly useful for those who have altered ways of being where the brain is affected. Conditions such as dementia. If the power of one drum can induce changes in brain wave patterns, just imagine what a group of drums could achieve.
A drum circle can involve anyone, literally anyone, even if they have never before picked up a drum. That is because drumming circles are about shared experiences. The focus is not on creating perfect music, but on having fun through making sounds that lifts the spirit.
Circles are less about playing tunes and more about tuning in to our inner playfulness and need for social connection. No matter what age we reach, that inner child is always waiting patiently to be let loose.
The essence of what dementia teaches us is about being in the moment. There is no past and the future is uncertain so drumming together creates something meaningful. Something that is fully present at that moment in time.
When playing a drum, or a percussion instrument in a circle – the music of all those playing enters the mind and body through sound and vibration. It resonates in every cell where it flows throughout the entire body to be released through the heart. Drumming is a whole-body experience.
Multiple people drumming together connects those individuals through coordinated beat and rhythm. This connection entwines into a vortex of energy that manifests as a collective consciousness. Whilst one drummer is having a personal experience, they are also experiencing being part of something much bigger than self. Loneliness and feelings of isolation can melt away as the group moves together with a common purpose building a shared energy. Thus, they enter into hive consciousness.
The role of the facilitator in a drum circle is to provide a welcoming environment, present activities that are fun and manageable, and maintain balance. A drumming circle can take place anywhere – indoors or out. A beach, woodland, residential, home, hospitals, school., or community hall are all just examples.
I have been part of drumming circles sat in trees, on a beach, by a river, on a mountain, within a herd of horses, by an ancient burial mound, sat round a spitting bonfire, inside a medicine wheel and whilst walking a labyrinth.
Anyone can take part whatever their level of ability or presumed challenges.
Drumming circles are all inclusive, They are relatively easy to set up, they work well in larger numbers, they can take place anywhere and they provide open access to music making.
Drumming inspires creativity, self-expression and a sense of community. It is like being part of a flowing conversation with listening and giving back to create a common bond.
Drums truly are a gift to humanity.