29th Oct 2014

The Best Places to Play a Hand Drum

For many drummers, the "need" to drum sneaks up like a ninja in the night. Whether the drummer is a professional, hobbyist or just starting out, the need to express rhythm and music can be overwhelming, driving even the most demure drummer to desperate drumming measures. Finding the right place to drum can be difficult, especially without an organized drumming event. While many drummers may be satisfied with the opportunity to drum at a drum circle, on stage or in a studio, others find that those particular events are less frequent than the inner desire to drum. In addition, not everyone appreciates drumming, especially in the grocery store, on an airplane or at a sporting event, where the urge to drum may be unstoppable, yet inappropriate.

For the drummer that cannot stop drumming, the following list may help inspire and satisfy the burning itch of drumming, safely and effectively.

Subway or Public Transportation Depots: Pull out a Djembe and start beating a pace that makes people move. Known as epicenters for work-related travel, most commuters enjoy the pounding beat of a drum early in the morning, especially as they zombie-walk to and from destinations that mark the passage of time through mind-numbing paperwork and hyper-focused screen gazing. At a bus stop, be sure to take advantage of the small crowd’s attention by announcing that you will take requests, but only for the actual bus ride itself. Wear a hat, in case errant cups of coffee somehow get tossed your way, and learn a few dance moves to side step any other physical threats.

School/College: From preschool to medical school, and everywhere in-between, educational institutions provide the environment for creativity and self-expression needed for drummers to bang away on Bongos, Cajons and other percussion instruments. Most schools have sidewalks, grassy knolls or rooftops that are perfect places to orchestrate a full-day drumming session, plus plenty of rooms to hide in when the authorities are called. For extra safety, bring a backpack and pencil for camouflage, just in case, or claim that a recent budget surplus has allowed one traveling musician per county.

Street/Alley: When in Rome, or any country outside of the U.S., the streets are paved with musicians. Take a tip from street performers and grab a Conga before heading out on your regular morning or evening walk. Most street drummers can be found camped out at intersections, near knock-off purse sellers or walking around the block, sometimes following an ice cream truck. Street drummers have the added benefit of rousing conga lines and parades, helping to bring neighborhoods and communities together in hypnotic exercises of pure musical passion.

Griffith park drum circle

Park/Woods/Beach: As some of the most typical public drumming venues, parks, beaches and forests provide the perfect natural backdrop for a drumming interlude. These open spaces allow for more drummers and drums to join together with Djembes, Cajons or Shekeres. At these natural spots for drumming, it may be surprising at how often drummers leave with various bug bites and sunburns. A lovely hemp knapsack can be used to hold organic sunscreen, bug spray and jars of honey to help distract marauding populations of bears.

Gym/Fitness Center: People love to exercise. It may be hidden behind the desire to line up at a drive-thru restaurant, but when it comes to fun, most people think, “gym.” Drummers can take advantage of this mood of excitement and motivation by providing the gift of music and rhythm to weight lifters, Zumba fanatics and swimmers. Be the motivation people need to, literally, go the extra mile by playing loud and fast rhythms on the Bongos or Djembe. For the ultimate inspiration, set up a full drum kit and show those gym rats what a real workout looks like. Be prepared for sweaty towels that may be launched at your head.

Keeping the beat alive is the greatest gift a drummer can give the world. On stage, at a drum circle, in a public bathroom or while sky diving, rhythm and music are two important ways to bridge the communication gap for people in all walks of life.

*X8 Drums is not responsible for any damage that may arise from public drumming.