Drums are the oldest instrument on the planet, and they have been used for thousands of years for spiritual purposes (read more about the history of drums and drum circles here). Many cultures use drums for connecting to the Divine and gaining spiritual clarity and direction. They are also used as a way to get people together, in the form of drum circles.
Drum circles are fun, but they can also be beneficial to our physical and mental wellbeing. Similar to sound healing and music therapy, drum circles use the frequency of sound to relax our bodies and minds. But drum circles have the added benefit of creating a powerful energy that results when people come together.
At Inspiring Actions, we’re excited to partner with Serenity Roots to offer drum circles at our Hudson and River Falls studios! This hour-long session provides a fun and relaxing way to develop a deeper sense of self-awareness and connection with others. Click here for dates and times, or visit our full list of classes here! Read on to learn about what drum circles are and their benefits, and what to expect for your first drum circle experience.
What is a Drum Circle?
The power of the energy we hold inside our bodies and our minds is incredible, and it is even more powerful when combined with the intentional energy of others. Drum circles use this combined energy, as well as the benefits of music, to promote relaxation by calming the inner chatter of the brain and releasing negative energy.
A drum circle is a ceremonial event in which participants play various percussion instruments while sitting in a…..you guessed it: Circle. The music that results from the drum circle is not planned; rather, it is the manifestation of the way the energy in each individual expresses itself. Participants do not need to have musical talent, or even be able to keep a beat. The idea is to let go, and let the energy of the space take over.
Drum circles use the combined energy of the participants to create a free and open space, a space that participants bring, but can also draw from for their own healing. When people come together for a similar purpose, it creates an energy more powerful than each individual would alone. This energy can be a powerful force for healing and for connecting with others on an energetic level. It can even help us reach deeper levels of consciousness.
Benefits of Drum Circles
The benefits of drum circles are related to the way they focus our minds and bring us to the present moment. Much like meditation, a drum circle can leave participants feeling relaxed, peaceful, and as if the problems we were dealing with prior to the drum circle are not as important. As we listen to the sounds others are making and play our instrument in whatever way comes to us, we are giving our minds the time and space they need to step away from the clutter of our lives, of our minds, and simply let go for a while.
The benefits of relaxation and focusing the mind are well-known, and they extend far beyond just giving us a mental break. Drum circles reduce anxiety, and when our stress levels are lower, all of our systems operate better. Think of it as a root cause situation: Stress responses in our body cause things like insomnia, high blood pressure, and blocked energy.
These things cause symptoms that create problems in our lives. Stress might be contributing to our digestive issues, or our chronic depression. By addressing the root cause of stress, drum circles (and practices like yoga and pranayama) target the reason these things are happening rather than treating individual symptoms.
Here are some specific benefits of drum circles:
- Release negative thoughts and feelings
- Induce relaxation
- Align body and mind with the natural world
- Boost immune system
What to Expect in a Drum Circle
So you’ve decided a drum circle sounds interesting and you’d like to give it a try, but it’s intimidating because you think you need to know how to play an instrument or maybe you’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable in an unfamiliar setting.
It helps to understand that the point of drum circles is not to create synchronized music, but to let the energy of each individual, and of the collective space, take over. There is no musical talent or experience necessary to participate in a drum circle, and chances are very good there will be lots of first-timers at wherever you choose to go.
In a typical drum circle setting, there will be chairs arranged in a circle with percussion instruments provided. Common instruments are of course drums, but also things like tambourines, shakers, or any other type of hand-held instrument. The tempo will be set by a facilitator, but there is no particular rhythm or notes needed to participate.
Once the facilitator starts the beat, others can join in with their instruments. You may choose to keep a similar beat to your neighbor, or you may choose to play entirely based on how you feel the energy of the space manifesting for you. There will likely be lots of both. The key is to let the energy of the space and within ourselves to manifest itself in whatever way comes, and not worry about how it might look.
If you live in the Hudson or River Falls areas and would like to give a drum circle a try, come join us at Inspiring Actions with Serenity Roots! Chairs, drums, and percussion instruments are provided. Our drum circle will leave you feeling relaxed, balanced, and inspired!
Below are some really great articles I used for research on drum circles!