Joined: Mar 3, 2011
Location: Greater Phoenix, Arizona
No. 8 Posted on Oct 24, 2011 8:23 PM
I invited some high school ad college students over to our house for a little de-stressing with drums. I have a pretty good-sized dining room with lots of light (I have since converted this from a dining room into a DRUMMING room!) The participants were all friends of my daughters. I had been hearing complaints about teachers and tests from three of them. I played a simple beat as they gathered and 3 joined along for a few minutes, simple groove, but nice – the others talked to each other.
Then I asked them to gather in a circle and reiterated my rationale for bringing them together (school stress) and explained the HealthRHYTHMS program briefly. It was a natural progression to introduce some yoga-type stretches at that point, and they followed along.
Then we did the famous egg pass. I was a little reluctant at first, concerned that high school and college students might find this condescending, but I was wrong. They loved it We actually incorporated singing. I think we all benefitted from the idea that dropping an egg here or there was really no big deal. “Letting go of perfection” brought a few nods and sighs of relief.
I had 2 tubanos, several large Remo sound shapes, and 1 buffalo drum available. During the ABC’s of drumming, we passed the drums around our small circle so that everyone had an opportunity to try the different drums. During rhythmic naming, a couple people created complicated rhythms. We played along with each person’s rhythms several times.
The entrainment building was then a natural progression from the rhythmic naming. I held the underlying beat on the buffalo drum for the most part, inviting the students to create their own beats. Two of the participants were very comfortable in taking leadership, starting and stopping the groove and controlling the tempo and dynamics. As it progressed, I asked them when they felt energized, calm, or together as a group (supported), during the drumming experience.
I used a recording of ocean sounds leading into the wellness exercise, asking the participants to close their eyes and imagine feelings of relaxation by the beach. I then repeated some stretches from the beginning. I asked them if they felt different than when they arrived and they all reported that they felt more relaxed! The amazing thing to me was that they not only appeared more relaxed, but they seemed to speak in softer tones of voices. I thanked them for coming and told them I would welcome them back whenever they felt the need to drum again.