Each year our MTA chapter holds a holiday social in December. In the past we’ve had artists perform, teachers perform, mingled, ate, and so on. The social also included a library music sale where teachers can buy old or barely used music.
This year I really wanted to do something interactive that would bring the group together in music. In my own studio I have held drum circles and every time I do I have loved it! The kids have loved it, the experience is not like any other. The great thing about drum circles is you can’t go wrong. Even if someone isn’t musically inclined it doesn’t matter. It’s a way to literally unite everyone involved.
I had contacted Frank Thompson of AZ Rhythm Connection almost a year ago to ask him to present and then approached him about doing a drum circle the following month for our social. When he agreed, I can’t tell you how excited I was and was looking forward to it all year-long.
What I found interesting is when Frank started drumming and inviting all the teachers to join the drum circle how hesitant most were to join in. Many sat “outside” the drum circle thinking they would be more comfortable in just watching. While I can understand being a little leery with new experiences, I have to be honest and say that I was a little frustrated when I saw that. It was defeating the purpose of what I wanted this social to be… a way to bond with each other through music and rhythm. When you have some that sit on the “outside” there is an immediate feeling of division. However I am happy to say that even though many were hesitant, everyone did eventually join the circle.
Drum circles are no longer for “hippies” as some might think. After all isn’t that the first thing you think of when you hear the word drum circle? Drum circles are for EVERYONE no matter age, ability or status in life. It is a way to heal, to release stress, to unite, to bond, and to make music together.
If you ever have a chance to participate in a drum circle, take it! If you don’t have the opportunity, then why not facilitate one yourself with your students? My favorite resource in ideas on facilitating some really fun drum circle games with your students is Kalani. He has a couple of books, one of which includes a DVD, which is very helpful. Together in Rhythm and The Amazing Jamnasium. If I were to just buy one, I would start with Together in Rhythm because you will get the DVD. Totally worth every penny! (*amazon affiliate)
Lastly, I just have to share something one of the teachers shared with our other teachers about the drum circle. It just totally made my day!
“I started the day so stressed out with everything I have to juggle this week – – little sleep and a million places to be and things to do – – but I’m SO glad I was able to participate in the drum circle. Seriously, it was like getting rehydrated with an I.V. when you’re parched as a bone – – only without the pain of needle.”