By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley
If there is any question about the benefits of a drum circle, it was answered this past month when music instructor Sean Carr brought his djembe drums to Pembroke Library for a community drumming workshop. This all inclusive circle, which brought together people from the community with individuals from New England Village, had the same results as previous drumming events: lots of laughter, lots of participation, and a little bit of noise!
As Sean so eloquently states at the beginning of each of his circles, everybody has rhythm. If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm—and then he goes on to prove his theory.
If there are any inhibitions about joining the circle, those are wiped out within the first 5 to 10 minutes. In no time at all, when people hear the drumming and feel the rhythm, it somehow becomes infectious, and everyone is eager to join in. As Sean points out, there is no wrong way to drum. And he’s right—despite people meeting and drumming together for the first time, somehow they achieve cohesiveness and harmony, as if by magic.
Beyond the music and the rhythm they create, without even realizing it, they are also achieving a kind of inner peace. Researchers and certified music therapists agree that drumming, like other forms of music, has a powerful effect on the brain and goes a long way in reducing stress and anxiety. Beyond that, researchers have found that drumming can relieve some forms of chronic pain. According to psychologytoday.com, drumming and other forms of music are great stress relievers. “Alongside the plethora of research on the effects of music on the brain, studies have found that drumming offers numerous health benefits. For women dealing with eating disorders, children with autism, cancer patients, war veterans living with PTSD, individuals with anger management issues, people with addictions, and even Alzheimer’s patients, drumming offers physical and emotional benefits.”
Drumming can be a form of communication or expression, says Sean, and is especially beneficial for those who have difficulty communication in the traditional manner. “When one person drums and another person answers that beat, either with a similar rhythm or something different, perhaps louder, that is a response. The two people are communicating,” he says.
To truly appreciate the transformation that occurs in a drum circle, you must witness this event. But be forewarned, one can only watch a drum circle for a short amount of time before they start tapping their feet, drumming their fingers, and asking to join the circle.