The first sound we hear is the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat. Rhythm is our first language. One of the ways to connect to our rhythm is to play the drum, the easiest instrument to play. All we have to do is let our hand fall onto the drum and we create sound. Repeating this activity, creates a pattern and this pattern makes a rhythm. We can play our own natural rhythms or we can play rhythms from a specific culture.
A drum circle is a group of people sitting together and playing rhythms on drums and percussion. A drum circle facilitator guides this process along by stepping into the circle at key moments to refocus and orchestrate the group. Her/his role is to elicit rhythms and creative ideas from the players, using simple rhythm games, songs and stories, and then help develop those ideas into a group song. We call this “in the moment music” or Recreational Music Making: RMM
RMM is inclusive. People of all ages, abilities and cultures can enter in at their own comfort level. In this way each person is a contributing member of the group, no matter what their rhythmical ability. As a result, people experience a sense of their own personal worth through self expression, which leads to a sense of personal empowerment
RMM brings people together, regardless of age, ability, gender, religion, race, culture or musical “talent”. The rhythms provide opportunities for people to fall into sync with every person in the circle. This shared experience creates a feeling of unity with the other players, a feeling of belonging.
RRM is not about the music…it is about the relationships between the players. It is about listening to one another. It is about sharing an uplifting experience with a group of people. It is about self expression, communication, spontaneity playfullnes and joy. And…..it’s good for us.
HOW GOOD FOR US? BENEFITS OF RECREATIONAL MUSIC MAKING
· strengthens the immune system response
· activates memory
· enhances clarity and focus
· releases stress and tension
· promotes feelings of joy and well being
· facilitates feelings of group identity, group synergy and cohesiveness
WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY
DR. BARRY BITTMAN CEO and medical director of the Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-body Wellness Centre in Pennsylvania & Health Rhythms trainer
He and his research team conducted a landmark study on the biological effects of drumming. They discovered that blood measurements on more than 50 subjects before and after group drumming showed a significant increase in chemicals related to immunity and to decreasing stress
“Drumming boosts the immune system and increases the natural killer cells, which are the circulating white blood cells that seek out and destroy cancer and virally infected cells…”
“Group drumming tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity, and enables healing to begin. When our hands connect with a drum that vibrates with our energy, vitality and unity, we become whole again”.
BABATUNDE OLATUNJI Father of African Music in the United States
“The sound of the drum resonates with an inner chord that vibrates through your whole body, so that when you go through the act of drumming, you are energizing every cell in your body.”
Dr. CONNIE TOMAINO Director of the Department of Music Therapy, Institute for Music and Neurological Function in Bronx, New York
Dr Tomaino conducted a study on the effects of various types of music on brainwaves. She discovered that when people with irregular or weak brain rhythms, such as individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, listened to music with strong rhythms, their brainwaves became more organized, pronounced and higher in frequency.
ERIC HALL CEO Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
“Drum therapy can produce a positive response in patients suffering from this brain-wasting disease. Since rhythm requires little mental processing and because it influences the motor center of the brain, patients often can respond to rhythmic cues”.
ROBERT FRIEDMAN Psychotherapist
“Even in latter stages of the disease (Alzheimer’s) patients can copy simple rhythms…it focuses them for a short time, which are priceless interludes”
“Drums seem to have the capacity to transform negative to positive, anger and grief to joy”
BARRY BERNSTEIN MT-BC Music Therapist
“There’s something about the vibration. It’s tricky, because I don’t speak from a highly scientific background on this. But the vibration organizes the water in our bodies. Part of it is, I think, the water in our bodies is getting organized at the cellular level”
CHRISTINE STEVENS MSW, MA, MT-BC Health Rhythms Facilitator & Trainer
“We are biologically wired for rhythm”
“Drums somehow overcome all the things that stop people from making music. We may turn away, but the primal beat just keeps on calling”.
ARTHUR HULL Father of the modern drum circle movement
“When we come together and drum, the power of the rhythm moves us to a place where we all share the same space, time, and music together……The vibrations of the rhythms goes to those stuck places in our lives, in our hearts, in our souls, and massages them back into movement and health”
- Barbara Karmazyn