Recently a friend talked me into going to a drumming workshop with her. The first thing I noticed when we walked in to a room of about 30 people was the age range of the participants. I’ve attended many classes and taken a variety of workshops through the years, but I’ve never taken a class with people who were forty years younger… and forty years older… than me. I soon understood that with drumming, the age of the drummer doesn’t matter…and apparently neither does gender, color or sexual orientation because within minutes we were all beating the same one drum rhythm and wearing huge smiles on our faces.
I was hooked. I banged out drum patterns on counter tops, tables and desks until my partner broke down and gave me a djembe drum and drum lessons for Christmas. As a health care professional, I couldn’t help but notice the health benefits from drumming. Besides the sheer joy of playing (which I’m sure must increase endorphins and reduces stress), I noted how often I am using my non-dominant hand. It reminded me of the cross pattern training that is sometimes used to help heal brain-injured patients. I’m also aware there are studies showing that drumming decreases a person's chances of developing dementia, or can help those who have it. Given my family history of the disease, I’m really thankful I was introduced to drumming.
Besides the health benefits, I enjoy the social aspects of drumming. I’ve just organized a drum circle to meet once a month in my backyard. The one thing I’ve noticed about drum circles is that even if people show up tired and/or grumpy…they leave inspired and happy. It's been said that drumming opens the heart...and from what I've experienced with it...I have to agree.
From social to health to opening the heart, you've got this, Jennifer, and thank you for sharing your story with us! Drummers, tell us why YOU love drumming and drum circles! We'd love to share your story, too!