Playing a drum is fun. Playing a drum with other people can be a lot more fun. The idea of a drum circle may conjure up the visual of a “Burning Man” experience with wild dancing, drumming and chanting, or it could be a simple circle of senior citizens clapping and tapping their feet to the beat of a drum. Drum circles come in all different styles and types and have different purposes. For those who are new to drumming and drum circles, finding your own niche can make all the difference in the experience.
Open drum circles are community-based and offer the experience of drumming just for the love of the activity. These are a great way to get to know other drummers and dancers, and to experience the different types of drum circle instruments that are available. Many times, even if you do not have an instrument, the organizers will have some extras available, as will other participants. In an open drum circle, there can be different styles of the drumming, from “call and response” drumming to a free-for-all of rhythm.
Healing drum circles are held in order to provide an environment of wellness and intention for the drummers and other participants. Those who engage in activities like yoga, energy healing modalities, and certain spiritual practices will use the rhythms as a means of meditation and focus. Healing drum circles take advantage of the myriad of ways that drumming affects the mind and body, from relieving stress and anxiety to easing physical pain. These drum circles can be scheduled events that require registration, or even a certain level of drumming skill in order to participate.
Facilitated drum circles are those that have a leader or group of leaders and can run the spectrum of community-oriented to those that strengthen teams at work or in schools. In a facilitated drum circle, experienced facilitators are in charge of keeping the participants motivated, and can provide instruction and exercises within the drum circle in order to reach the overall goals of the event.
While any drum circle can be facilitated, open or for the purpose of healing, or any combination thereof, it is important to understand the differences in the styles in order to find the best drum circle for your own needs. Most importantly, however, is understanding that no matter the style or type of drum circle, you are about to enter into an experience that will change your life for the better.