Maybe you have been playing your djembe for months, or even years, understanding the powerful experience this instrument provides. Maybe you finally decided that you want to start drumming with others who share your love for rhythm. Perhaps, even, you have sat and listened to a drum circle, understanding the beauty that comes from a community of people making music and rhythm together. Whatever your reasons may be, you want to participate in a drum circle but may feel a little awkward or intimidated. Drum circles aren't a place for fear, they are a place where you will discover a new "home," new friends, and expand your devotion to your drum through the power of togetherness.
Drum circles typically fall into three distinct types of gatherings, each with a specific set of guidelines and purpose defined by the group or circle type. Understanding these differences will make your experience, and the experience of the other drummers, as enjoyable as possible.
Facilitated Drum Circles are events that are sponsored by a group, organization or business. These are typically "invite-only," with the purpose of team-building in mind. At a facilitated drum circle, there will be a leader who teaches, encourages and inspires those in attendance through various methods or programs. Facilitated and corporate drum circles are quickly becoming a popular way to illustrate the concepts of teamwork, strengthen relationships within an organization and provide a unique experience to stimulate creativity within an organization.
Healing Drum Circles are drumming events that are planned with a focus on health and wellness. These drum circles are intention-based and facilitated. Using the power of music and rhythm to focus on the health of a specific person (including you), community, or situation that has caused harm, that focus, in turn, provides a group rhythm that generates healing energy inward as well as externally. Healing drum circles are often hosted by local groups, but, many traditional therapeutic settings are beginning to take advantage of the health and wellness benefits of drumming, as well.
Open Drum Circles are community-based events held for the love of music, drumming and togetherness. These drum circles can be hosted in homes, public places, or can spring up out of nowhere. As a tool for creating and strengthening the bonds within a community or neighborhood, an open drum circle encourages the participation of everyone, no matter the instrument, level of drumming ability or experience.
Facilitated, healing and open drum circles are not the only types of drum circles you can attend. Many spiritual centers, charities and civic causes will sponsor drum circles for a variety of reasons. Before attending your first drum circle, try to find out the details of the type of circle it is, any specific requests by the organizers and guidelines that can be beneficial to your experience. Most of all, when attending your first drum circle, prepare to have fun and be swept away by the beauty and power that can only be experienced through drumming. It is truly one experience you will never forget.