Many people drum for its community aspect, the health and wellness that drumming can provide, or just for the fun and entertainment. Some drummers are die-hard musicians, while others may drum as a natural part of their heritage and ancestry. The reasons to pick up a drum are as varied as the people and the drums that are used, but when you grab your Djembe and start playing a new rhythm, have you ever really thought about what drumming has taught you?
At its core, drumming is the process of creating and maintaining a rhythm that serves as the basis for other instruments and music. This act, in itself, can teach patience, dedication and resolve, because good drummers cannot just quit in the middle of a song without throwing off the rest of the group. Solo drummers, those who drum alone in the safety of their bedrooms or basements, may not have to worry about other percussionists or instrumentalists, but there could come a day when they are pushed into the drumming spotlight by a well-intentioned friend. Drumming, then, can be a teacher of when to hide one’s Djembe, or how it feels to finally live authentically and show off that hidden talent.
Drumming can be a direct line to one’s ancestry, whether the drummer's history began in Africa, Asia or Celtic regions. South America, Australia and even Native America all have a rich history in drumming that can be called upon by its modern heirs, no matter if they play a Djembe or a Taiko drum. This connection teaches several lessons, such as our relationship to each other despite continental or national borders. Along with ancestral bonds, drumming can definitely be part of spiritual lessons as it helps to heal bodies, minds and souls.
One of the greatest lessons that drumming teaches is the power of community, cooperation and teamwork. Most drummers see their role as a strong support for the other instruments or dancers within the circle or band, guiding the music, even as the music guides them into dazzling Djembe solos and Bongo fills. Keeping one ear on the sound surrounding the drummer, they are the basis and the guide of the song, the circle and the intent of the music. The lessons that drumming teaches are numerous and personal, giving rhythm, life and purpose beyond steady beats and mysterious style of the drummer or circle. Drumming, for the drummer, teaches more than rhythm and can be an important tool for personal growth and entertainment.