The most common question I get asked about drum circles is 'Why?'
It's also the most difficult question to answer.
After having observed drum circles from within for many years, I'm still fascinated that people are drawn to them for so many
different reasons. Therein lies the magic. Ask individual people why they drum in drum circles and you'll hear that drum circles
are relaxing, invigorating, musical, spiritual, creative, social and introspective. They will tell you they come away with
feelings of inner peace, connectedness, groundedness, joy, confidence and energy. For me, the beauty has always been that,
as diverse as our goals may be, we travel there together.
What is a Drum Circle?
According to Mickey Hart: "The ultimate goal (of the drum circle) is not
precise rhythmic articulation or perfection of patterned structure, but the ability to entrain and reach the state of a group
mind. It is built on cooperation in the groove, but with little reference to any classic styles. So this is a work in constant
progress, a phenomenon of the new rhythm culture emerging here in the West. "
It's hard to talk about drum circles without quoting Arthur Hull, the leading proponent of facilitated drum circles.
I had the pleasure of meeting Arthur Hull several years ago and speaking with him as well as drumming with him.
What is a Community Drum Circle?
by Arthur Hull
The Community Drum Circle is the use of a rhythm-based event as a tool for unity. It is NOT a drum
class. It's NOT using culturally-specific rhythms. A community drum circle in the United States is a fun, family friendly
event, where people empower each other in the act of celebrating community and life through rhythm and music. People of all
levels of musical expertise come together and share their rhythmical spirit with what ever drums and percussion they bring
to the event. They don't have to be a drummer to participate. Everyone has something to offer the circle, and any one is welcome.
The spirit and magic of rhythm expressed on drums and percussion instruments cuts through all ages,
sexes, religions, races and cultures. "Rhythm", as Gabriel Roth says, "is the mother tongue." Rhythm is a universal language
known to every one, even the youngest child, if we can just "remember." So in a very objective, yet beautiful way, an interactive
rhythm event puts us all on an equal footing with each other and brings us closer together. The facilitator serves this process
by guiding the participants to their highest musical potential.
A community drum circle is created, "in the moment" by all the people who participate. Co-operation
and collaboration is the basic glue. When we drum together, sharing our spirit in the form of rhythm, it changes our relationships.
As we play together, we give ourselves a rhythmical massage and an emotional release. The experience is unique to each person
in the circle, and it happens whether we are entraining ourselves into the circle by drumming, or standing outside the circle
and listening while tapping our feet and clapping along with the music.
To make beautiful music together, all we have to do is bring to the circle whatever rhythmical expertise
we have to offer, along with the excitement of sharing it with other people. The quality of the music produced in an event
like this is not based on the rhythmical expertise of the players, but on the quality of their relationship with the other
people in the circle. The result is those magical musical moments where one powerful voice is created out of the many. In
those moments, the players stop worrying about keeping time because time, as they know it, has stopped. In it's place is a
living breathing entity, expressing timeless joy, passion and release through the power of rhythm. That is the beauty of a
community drum circle.
by Rick C.
Some of us are smiling,
some look grumpy.
Some look comfortable,
others look lost.
We lift our drums confidently
and begin to play loudly
or with reserve
From the heart
or from the head
Knowing our place in the song
or doubting ourselves.
We look unlikely to belong
to the same group.
differ in every way
Were Christian and Pagan
Men and women
Black and white
Gay and straight
Well-off and poor
Educated or not
Eloquent or not
Experienced or not
It doesnt matter here.
are here to make music
and some are here to touch God.
Some came to be together
while others came to be alone.
Some came for the joyful noise
and some for peace and quiet.
Some came to heal their souls
and others just
It doesnt matter which.
Some are here to connect with spirit...
to raise energies
to be entranced
or find their essence
And some are here to stop thinking.
To just Be.
Together for a dozen reasons
Headed for a dozen destinations
Yet we travel as One.
Supporting one another
without a word
Building something of beauty
that not one of us
Ending each piece with laughter
...or with silence.
Feeling so alive,
and in the moment,
When its time to go, I pray
I can bring a bit more
of my drum circle heart
into the world
Because the world has much to learn
by Rick Cormier
There can be calm in the midst of noise.
My mind quiets as I play...
suspending its judgements,
rehearsals, and self-reproaching...
Time slows down...
that I begin to see the moments.
I become grounded and aware
and of others
and of the music we have become.
There can be such healing in Joy.