As you step out of the room, the drumbeat is still resonating through your body. Your chest feels weightless, almost empty – like you can breathe a little deeper. A sense of oneness and wholeness almost undetectably fills you. Like the surge of endorphins you get after a long but satisfying run.
How does a drum circle work?
Last week, eight of our members met together with musical therapists from Earthtones to make music with our community drum circle. Sitting in chairs arranged in a circle, each member selected a drum to experience the spontaneous creation of music. Some used their bare hands, and others mallets or drumsticks – each person expressing themselves creatively through their individual instrument.
As the drumming continued, you begin to be part of something larger. As your hand strikes the drum, the vibration travels to your chest, magnified by a dozen others simultaneously hitting their drums. While the goal is not precise rhythmic patterns, something begins to pull the group towards a common pulse. You listen to each other. Your faces posed in concentration. You laugh. You draw together. You are present.
Bringing people together
Drumming has always brought people together. It’s been integral to many cultures as far back as history books record. It cuts through cultural and social boundaries. Somehow when you make music together, there is a sense of connectedness to each other and within yourself. There is an integration of your spiritual and physical forces.
“Oh yes, we are here together” leads out Emilie, one of the group leaders. The participants reply in a leader/follower dynamic, “oh yes, we are here together.” Yes, we are here together.
Overheard from the circle:
“Oh yes, we are here together.”
“I’m here because I’m Native American and our lands are being destroyed.”
“They should make a braille drum.” (from a member with visual impairment)
“I didn’t think about it. Those tall drums are nice for those in a wheelchair.”
“All together now.”