Lub Dub Dub… I’m a Hitting a Drum: Drum Circle Facilitation

I just had one of the most incredible experiences in my student career to date.  Unfortunatley, it was completely unexpected (like most good things, I suppose), and I didn’t get much time to think or prepare.  I was casually walking to my percussion methods class for music therapy when a stampede of middle and high schools charged past.  What happened next? My percussion professor says, “Sarah, they will be joining our class today… since you’re the senior do you think you can give a short presentaton on what music therapy is… and then lead them in a drum circle?” ummmm…. Why yes, yes I can.

I had the opportunity to advocate for our profession to 65 young students who before speaking to them, probably didn’t know what music therapy was. Sure they were to shy to ask questions, however, it’s in their minds (and I like to think my super cheery and excited disposition will help them to make the right decision- Music Therapy!).

I was able to facilitate the drum circle and encorage my other classmates (mostly freshman :)) to get up and try facilitating as well… and what a great job they did! I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do that 5 years ago! I was so proud.

I feel like I picked up a few tips from this experience that I would like to share:

  1. 1, 2, 3, 4 are your new favorite numbers.  They cue beginnings, ends, and in-betweens.  It creates a sense of expecation for those that your leading the experience with.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be animated. If your shy facilitating, your circle will reflect that right back to you… it’s called… REFLECTION (a lovely therapy technique).  Jump, lift your arms, run around… get that group going!
  3. Vary it up= there is always a steady eighth note pulse to a drum circle… don’t be afraid to change tempos, dynamics, and rhythms during your time up there.
  4. Leave room for solos.  Some are willing, some are not… but put it out there.
  5. Try to use as few verbal cues as possible.  The longer the experience lasts, the less you’ll have to use your mouth because group members will for sure start to pick up on cues and body language.

There you have it.  It your EVER given an opportunity to lead a drum circle… don’t pass up on it. It’s truly an experience!



Filed under Music Therapy, Student Life

5 responses to “Lub Dub Dub… I’m a Hitting a Drum: Drum Circle Facilitation

  1. Pamela

    That’s awesome! Congrats! I wrote a paper about drum circle facilitation recently and also attended a day-long workshop where we did a lot of drum circle stuff – it is truly an awesome and powerful thing. Way to go! 🙂

  2. Pingback: 13 Inspiring Articles from My Fellow Music Therapy Bloggers | Music Therapy Maven

  3. Yay yay yay for you Sarah!!! How fun, and what a great opportunity for you to shine and free up the space for the freshmen to shine, too!!!

    Congratulations on an awesome circle! Wish I coulda been there =)

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