28th Oct 2014

Talking Through Drumming

Cultures have been using drums to communicate and signal others through the ages. Today, in this time of cellphones and online social media, drums may seem antiquated; however, drums still play an important role to help communicate with others.

Music Therapy is a process that facilitates improved health through musical experiences. There have been both qualitative as well as quantitative research reinforcing drumming as a successful tool for certified practitioners.

Like in other applications of music, percussion instruments can be a foundational part of Music Therapy. There is an assortment of techniques and activities that center on drums and drumming. The benefits of drumming in these settings can help many areas of a participant’s life including motor skills, cognitive skills, and emotional development. One unexpected area where drumming can help is in communication skills.

Many of the activities used are collaborative, requiring participants to acknowledge verbal as well as non-verbal cues from a group leader or another participant. The participant will then be expected to respond accordingly. These types of activities help to develop interpersonal skills that allow him/her to build open relationships with free communication.

Another opportunity to develop communication is through improvisation. Throughout these types of experiences, individuals learn to express themselves in new ways that can bolster their communication skills. By talking through the drum the participants allow their underlining emotions to come forward.

A more common area where drumming supports communication is the drum circle. This practice has been used by devoted cultures throughout history. In this experience, the drumming is used to set a quiet, soothing mood that encourages the participants to present feelings and ideas to the group. This setting creates an environment where members can feel free to express themselves openly to the group.

There are multiple training programs available for people interested in becoming Music Therapists and drum circle facilitators. And a background in music is not necessarily required.