What is a Community Drum Circle?
by Arthur Hull
The Community Drum Circle is the use of a rhythm-based event as a tool for unity. It is NOT a drum class. It's NOT using culturally-specific rhythms. A community drum circle in the United States is a fun, family friendly event, where people empower each other in the act of celebrating community and life through rhythm and music. People of all levels of musical expertise come together and share their rhythmical spirit with what ever drums and percussion they bring to the event. They don't have to be a drummer to participate. Everyone has something to offer the circle, and any one is welcome.
The spirit and magic of rhythm expressed on drums and percussion instruments cuts through all ages, sexes, religions, races and cultures. "Rhythm", as Gabriel Roth says, "is the mother tongue." Rhythm is a universal language known to every one, even the youngest child, if we can just "remember." So in a very objective, yet beautiful way, an interactive rhythm event puts us all on an equal footing with each other and brings us closer together. The facilitator serves this process by guiding the participants to their highest musical potential.
A community drum circle is created, "in the moment" by all the people who participate. Co-operation and collaboration is the basic glue. When we drum together, sharing our spirit in the form of rhythm, it changes our relationships. As we play together, we give ourselves a rhythmical massage and an emotional release. The experience is unique to each person in the circle, and it happens whether we are entraining ourselves into the circle by drumming, or standing outside the circle and listening while tapping our feet and clapping along with the music.
There are many places where drum circles are being used for many purposes, like....
• Teambuilding for corporations
• Empowerment building for mens and womens groups
• Spirit building for spiritual growth and personal growth groups
• Synergizing and rhythm training for school/kids groups
• Stress and anger relief for kids- at-risk groups
• Orientation for college campuses and on-going circles for multi-cultural awareness.
• Family bonding for family night drum circles.
• Community building and market building for music stores.
To make beautiful music together, all we have to do is bring to the circle whatever rhythmical expertise we have to offer, along with the excitement of sharing it with other people. The quality of the music produced in an event like this is not based on the rhythmical expertise of the players, but on the quality of their relationship with the other people in the circle. The result is those magical musical moments where one powerful voice is created out of the many. In those moments, the players stop worrying about keeping time because time, as they know it, has stopped. In it's place is a living breathing entity, expressing timeless joy, passion and release through the power of rhythm. That is the beauty of a community drum circle.