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How to Facilitate a Drum Circle

29th Oct 2014

Drum circles are an entertaining and expressive way to join together people from all walks of life. The intention behind a drum circle may vary, whether for charity, health and wellness, fun or strengthening community bonds, and regardless of the drum circle purpose, its overall benefit affects all who participate. Facilitating a drum circle is another step in the life of the drum circle enthusiast. It requires leadership, organization and a willingness to provide an atmosphere that is most beneficial for the drumming participants.

Drum circle facilitators are called to provide an organized structure for a drum circle. Spontaneous drum circles are a rarity; a scheduled drum circle helps encourage participation and the growth of the intention, as well as the growth of its participants. With a familiar group of people, many drummers build upon skills learned on a djembe or cajon due to a lack of inhibition and the encouragement of friendly faces. These facilitated drum circles are an important part of the personal growth of the drummers involved.

Treasure Island, FL drum circle

Finding drummers for a drum circle may take some footwork. There are places online such as Craigslist or Meetup.com that can help bring drummers together, and many grocery stores, libraries, schools or other public areas have "community bulletin boards" on which flyers, brochures or business cards may be posted. Metaphysical stores, chiropractor offices, healing centers and music stores may also allow a display of drum circle literature that invites participants to join, or those locations could even have lists of interested drummers already in place.

Keeping a drum circle together requires as much consistency as possible. For the facilitator, searching for a location can be a chore. Many libraries, community centers, parks or other public areas are great resources that may allow a drum circle, or can give information about where else to ask. After the venue is established, the time and day is the next step. Because of scheduling conflicts, it may be best to offer the drum circle on a rotating basis, if possible, or try to keep to the same time and day in case the other drummers are able to revise a personal schedule in the future.

When the day arrives for the drum circle, try to take an inventory of the number of instruments available, as well as the number of drummers who will participate. Many circles provide a few extra djembes or maracas for guests or those without an instrument, but it is also common to have a "BYOD" (Bring Your Own Drum) policy to eliminate the possibility of damage to another's instrument. Drum circles rely on the spontaneous rhythms that burst forth during the circle, so it is not necessary to have prepared rhythms, but more of an attitude that lets the circle develop its own sound, pace and style.

Facilitating a drum circle can be a rewarding experience for the experienced drum circle enthusiast. By implementing a few basics of organization and dedication to the experience a drum circle offers, the drum circle facilitator can make a difference in the lives of the local drumming community. These drum circles offer more than just rhythm and djembes, drum circles can also offer a group healing intention that can carry over into the lives of its participants, and beyond.