DRUMMING FOR SENIORS

The modern advent of a drum circle began in the late 1960s within the United States. According to Arthur Hull, known as a rhythm ambassador, modern drum circles as we know them are an American phenomenon.



WHAT HAPPENS IN A DRUM CIRCLE?

First know, that you do not have to have any musical experience to participate in a drum circle. The main goal of a drum circle is to create community. When one is involved in a drum circle, you begin to sense a oneness with the others who are participating as you gradually gravitate to a rhythm that is particular to that drum session. Nothing is rehearsed, but rather the rhythm naturally surfaces throughout the session. The key word here is improvisation, that is, to create your music spontaneously and without preparation.


Drum circles arise for various purposes. Those purposes can include

  • Community-oriented “open circles” with the purpose of promoting socialization.

  • Healing drum circles with the purpose of gathering for “spiritual and emotional uplifting”

  • Facilitated drum-circles, generally used at work retreats or “team-building retreats” to generate an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork.

A drum circle has a “leader” who will set the “steady beat.” This steady beat sets the speed and tone of the circle with the participants joining in to “embellish” that beat. Throughout a drum circle session, the main objective is to keep an attitude of cooperation with the other members by allowing all to participate using their own personal rhythm and energy to add to the group.


HOW CAN SENIORS BENEFIT FROM A DRUM CIRCLE

Drum Circles, also known as “Wellness drumming” or “therapeutic drumming”, has been shown to benefit Seniors in many ways. It is a commonly known fact that many elderly persons suffer from isolation. In fact, just recently an article was published in local news site, that clearly emphasizes the fact that this is true, especially since the onset of the pandemic.


Within a drum circle, one is able to safely distance themselves from others while still participating in the group. Within a circle, one can experience both a sense of community as well as benefit from interaction with others.


Physically, drumming improves upper body strength and stimulates the heart. I would like to point out here that even if one is not able to physically participate in the drumming activity, being present in an active drum circle allows one to benefit from the rhythmic stimulation that surrounds them.


There is a growing number of music therapists who endorse this activity and who are working within hospitals, hospices and even prisons. These professionals hail the benefits of using drumming therapy as a means of promoting emotional healing.


WHAT DRUMS ARE USED IN A DRUM CIRCLE?

Hand drums and percussion instruments are generally used within a drum circle. Examples of this type of instrument are the more familiar congas and bongos. Additionally, a percussion instrument known as the “doumbek” is widely used within drum circles. This is a percussion instrument whose origins are from North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.

That said, you need not purchase a drum to participate in a drum circle, since virtually anything that you can bang on can work whether it be cans, buckets or pipes. Or you could use, shakers, a bell or even a woodblock. Use your imagination.


Above all enjoy drumming and the sound that only you can make.


Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.


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