While explaining the value of drum circles, a renowned drum circle facilitator and a Psychotherapist – Ray Waters – says that the “The drum calls and the circle heals”. This is the shortest explanation of how drum circles and group drumming has a role to play in the field of mental health. The ease with which anyone can connect to ‘a drum’ is evident in drum circles! When drum circles picked up in India, it was the fun and recreational value that appealed to the Indian population. As Indians, we like to be with people! We have or at least used to have big families! Indian Gods, religions and festivals have always brought us together to celebrate throughout the year! Drum circles were and are received very well in almost all possible celebrations and gatherings!
It is the power of rhythm and interactions during drum circles that binds people together. While facilitating drum circles, it is immense pleasure to watch people open up gradually. While they cannot hide their ‘true self’, there is also a feeling of support that they experience. These are interesting questions to ponder about – why are drum circles healing? What are the links of drumming and emotional well-being?
Drum circles work as a platform of interaction and a very different mode of communication for the working population that is busy on phones and computers. Creating something musical is new and adds a value to their mundane routine. For the inmates in a remand home, it became a channel of expression of emotions like anger and guilt. They were better able to disclose their issues and build a relationship with the facilitator. For the students in college it is acting as an anchor for building their own career by increasing their own confidence which in turn helps them build healthy relationships with others.
While interacting with most of the leading drum circle facilitators in the world, I have found that they are a lot of fun, light, open to change and accepting people. It is the energy of the facilitators that anchor the experiences that are created during the drum circles! They are the key ingredient of well being that is initiated and created during a drum circle! Musicality of the drum circle generates the interest for people which is also an unending opportunity of experimentation. There is so much too learn that it continues forever! It creates the space that one needs to explore oneself through the music and silence simultaneously. Jane Bentley, in her doctoral research calls this process as ‘Tuning In’. The interactions in drum circles initiates a dialogue after self expression and then leads to group interaction! This work gives a good account of the process of how drum circles work!
After learning from Arthur Hull, many around the world have taken up the work of using drumming for health and wellbeing as well as building communities across the globe. This is becoming a positive wave around the world.
Group drumming and drum circles are reaching out to the corners of the world spreading the message of happiness, health and wellbeing. Bringing people together for a better tomorrow, by keeping away the differences that are potential contributors of increasing hate around the world. The world today needs more drum circles for the simple reason that it is an answer for increasing wars. Because “The drum calls and the circle heals”.
Director | Taal Inc.