In the April issue of Rhythm! Scenes magazine, Arthur Hull provides a few tips on how to properly facilitate a drum circle.
Being a good drum circle facilitator is more than being a good drummer. “It takes a deep kind of listening and understanding of the constituency that you’re serving,” Hull said. With so many different forms of world music and drums seeping into drum circles, deep listening and understanding ensures that every type of drum and culture is heard, especially when smaller, softer drums that can’t compete with the powerful djembe make their way into a circle.
Hull also emphasizes that a good drum facilitator uses rhythm to bring the drum circle into the present. “...And it is not necessarily about making the best music you can with this group of people in front of you,” Hull told Rhythm! Scene. “It might be about getting the people in the circle to consciously participate, expanding their attention, creating a space for them to explore and express their rhythmical spirit without judgment.”
Most importantly, a good drum circle facilitator “teaches without teaching.” That is, the facilitator leads individuals to group conscious, to learn about itself, and to discover each component of the circle on their own. Once they do, they are able to play and create music together in the moment. “So by ‘teaching without teaching,’ you move the group from being a bunch of individuals to an exciting, dynamic, interactive, orchestrational, musical drum circle.”
A facilitator who has mastered these and other qualities can create the ideal drum circle: a safe, expressive, explorative, therapeutic, cultural, energetic, community-building rhythm based event.