When it comes to trying out new ideas for entertainment, fun or strengthening community ties, a drum circle can be a multi-faceted exercise in the whole body-mind experience provided by music and rhythm. With a wealth of information and research available about how drumming benefits the mental and physical health of the drummer and audience, a drum circle can be a natural step on the road to self-awareness and the healing of various aspects of a person. Joining a drum circle, however, can be a difficult step to take, even for the most outgoing person. While no two drum circles are exactly alike, there is some common ground in any of these drumming activities that, once understood, can help ease the process of joining a drum circle or community drumming event.
Many drum circles welcome new participants, regardless of skill level or experience with drumming. These circles can be found advertised at local music stores, alternative health care providers, or even online. Community bulletin boards at libraries and coffee shops are also common places to learn the details of a drum circle in a particular area. Finding a drum circle to join can also be a matter of invitation or word-of-mouth, with many people stumbling into the experience, prompted by a well-meaning friend or acquaintance.
Once a drum circle time and location is known, the next step can be somewhat more difficult. Showing up to a drum circle or community drumming event can take a measure of confidence. Many people shy away from drumming and music activities due to a perception that all the participants must have a certain level of rhythmic skill. Within a circle, the complexity of instruments can range from shakers and rattles to bongos and djembe drums. Plus, many times, people can be so moved by the vibe of the circle that dancing, chanting and other activities take on a life within the circle. The beauty of a drum circle, is that the community aspect of drumming allows for people of all skill levels, or those who have never even tapped out a rhythm, to join in and experience the sights and sounds. Even if a person only sits among the other drummers and percussionists, the benefits of the rhythm can be felt, and while it may take a few more sessions to increase a newbie’s confidence enough to start drumming along, the lasting effects of the experience can be life-changing.
Regardless of the method of joining a drum circle or community event, or the level of involvement by the new drum circle participant, engaging within a circle of drummers and hand percussion players can not only help with stress, anxiety or physical health issues, but can also be a catalyst into a new life that is full of music, rhythm, and above all, community.