Drum circles are pretty much the talk of town these days and I sincerely hope that these blog posts are able to add to the awareness needed for service providers and clients alike to know what these activities are and what they are not. Drum circles and group drumming events have been a timeless tradition across cultures worldwide, bringing people together through the universal language of rhythm. In these vibrant gatherings, various types of drumming instruments take center stage, each contributing its unique sound and energy to create an electrifying musical experience. Let’s explore the diverse world of drumming instruments used in these dynamic settings, from traditional djembes to modern cajons, and discover how they all play a crucial role in uniting individuals in harmonious beats.

What is a Drum Circle?

A drum circle is a gathering where people come together to play various percussion instruments, typically hand drums such as djembes, congas, or bongos. These instruments are played by participants sitting in a (ideally) circle or (if not possible) semicircle or other formations, each contributing their own unique rhythms and patterns to create a unified sound: one rhythm. The goal of a drum circle is not to showcase individual skill but rather to create an inclusive, collaborative and therapeutic musical experience.
Group drumming events can take on many different forms, from structured workshops led by facilitators to informal jam sessions among friends. They often include elements such as chanting, singing, dancing, and movement along with the rhythmic beats of the drums. These events offer a space for people from all walks of life to come together and connect through the universal language of music & rhythm.

One key aspect that sets group drumming apart from other musical activities is its emphasis on participation over performance. Unlike traditional concerts where the focus is on watching skilled musicians perform, group drumming encourages everyone present to actively engage in creating music together. This aspect makes it an accessible activity for people with little or no musical background.

Importance of Using a Variety of Instruments in Drum Circles

While some may think that any drum or percussion instrument can be used in a drum circle, there is actually an importance placed on using a variety of instruments for the optimal experience.
Firstly, having a variety of instruments adds depth and texture to the overall sound of the drum circle. Each type of drum or percussion instrument has its own unique tone and character, which when combined with others, creates a rich and diverse soundscape. This creates an immersive experience for participants and allows for more complex musical arrangements to be created. So ensure that you have drums & percussion instruments covering all three pitches: The bass frequency, the mid frequency and high frequency. In addition to this you can divide instruments according to how they are played: by hand or using sticks / mallets. 

This will help to create an intricate musical experience. Using different types of instruments also promotes inclusivity within the drum circle. People from different backgrounds and skill levels can all participate regardless of their previous musical knowledge or ability. This inclusivity fosters a sense of community and encourages collaboration among participants.

Furthermore, incorporating various types of instruments ensures that everyone has something to play. In larger groups where there may not be enough drums or other traditional percussion instruments for every individual, using alternative instruments such as shakers, tambourines or even makeshift items like buckets or bottles allows everyone to actively contribute to the rhythm making process.

While any type of instrument can technically be used in a drum circle, the importance of using a variety of instruments cannot be overstated. It not only adds depth and inclusivity to the experience but also encourages collaboration, creativity and an overall sense of community among participants. So next time you attend or organize a drum circle, make sure to incorporate a diverse range of instruments for an even more enriching and enjoyable musical experience.

If you have the drums and motivation to lead your community or corporate drumming and team building activities in rhythm all you now need is the know-how to do so. We have an intensive course called ‘Find Your Inner Rhythm’; where you learn how to become a drum circle facilitator and lead corporate drum circles or community drum circles. Get in touch with us to know more about this course. 

All the best and happy drumming. 

Come. Drum. Be One. 
Varun Venkit
Team Taal Inc.