Thursday, May 8, 2008

Drum Circles

This week's show (archived here) attempted to answer questions about Drum Circles, specifically, "When is a drum circle appropriate, and why is it a better choice than other therapies in specific situations?"

Active music making influences our thoughts and feelings differently from passive music listening. Active music making expands our mental abilities, helps to relieve stress through the focus and awareness of the whole person, and helps create positive self regard.
Drumming is a great way to participate in active music making. Drumming is accessible to all skill levels. Group drumming is an ancient healing practice and is not about skill level, technique or showing off.

Drum circles are not necessarily music therapy. Drum circles are oriented around building a social community, recreational music making, and a sense of individual accomplishment. A music therapist may use a drum circle to foster growth and development in functional domains, such as social, physical, or communicative goals. So a drum circle does not have to be led by a music therapist and a participant may find it therapeutic. However, in order for a drum circle to be music therapy, it must be led by a music therapist who is using the drum circle to reach specific goals for a specific reason.

You can find more information on this topic in Susan Gardstrom's book, Music Therapy Improvisation for Groups: Essential Music Competencies, published by Barcelona.

You can also attend a Drum Circle Music Workshop with Kalani. For more information, go to

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