Drum Circle-Drum away those blues!

As days go by, our lives are becoming more and more rapid. This has brought with it numerous health hazards. Stresses, depression, exertion, are common usages for us.
The question now is what is the solution? The solution for these problems range from yoga to meditation, to aroma therapies, reflexology, acupuncture, and the list goes on.
Most of these remedies recommend peace, isolation, silence, as means to attain maximum relaxation, and in turn helps to overcome stress.

However, the latest entrant in the field of stress buster therapies and rejuvenation therapies is something way different. It does not involve sitting in isolation, or meditating from dawn to dusk. In fact, it involves a lot of NOISE! Known as the Drum Circle, the therapy is spreading like wildfire and is supposedly one of the most exciting and helpful forms of music therapy.

Music, being the best healer, is used as a medium to relieve people of their stress, and rejuvenate them. Drums, also known as the ‘instrument of people’, are known to have healing powers. Drumming helps in inducing relaxation, it reduces blood pressure, smoothens the functioning of the body, boosts the immune system and ultimately helps in curbing stress.

Drum Circle uses this healing power of the drums to rejuvenate and also entertain people. The main aim of the drum circles is not to create professional musicians, but to help common people rid their worries and tensions. It acts as a platform where in people can give vent to their pent up feelings.

What is Drum Circle?

Drumming originally is an African Cuban art form which was later transformed as a specific musical gathering by the Westerners, evolved to be known as the Drum Circle. Drum Circle in simple terms refers to a group activity where people sit in circles and play different hand drums and percussions, with a facilitator/moderator controlling the entire session.

As per Arthur Hall, a renowned percussionist, and also one of the founders of the concept of Drum Circle, “A Drum Circle is a group of people coming together and playing various drums and percussions in various pitches to create a percussion melody and drum/rhythm song”.

Drum Circle is of two types:

•   Community Drum Circle-In a community drum circle, people normally gather in informal meetings with one main aim, i.e., to play drums together. There is no specific moderator or facilitator in these sessions.
•    Facilitated Drum Circle-These sessions are more controlled and organized as they are conducted by specific facilitators who synchronize the music played by each member of the group, and hence gives a sense of collective being.

Types of Drums Used

Drum Circle involves the use of various African hand-drums. The different types of hand-drums that are universally used for the sessions are as follows:

•    Djembe— Invented in West Africa, this drum has been extensively used for conducting rituals, festivities, healing ceremonies, etc.

•    Doumbek– This hand drum was invented in the Middle East. It is usually held under the arm and then played.

•    Congo– These elongated drums are a residual of the traditional Nigerian Culture.

•    Bongo– Originated in West Africa, these drums are usually played in pairs.

Who can be a part of it?

To be a part of Drum Circle, you do not have to be a trained percussionist. Drum Circle sessions are held for common people, anyone from kids, teenagers, working professionals, including senior citizens who can be a part of it.

Benefits of Drum Circle

•    Known to generate ‘killer cells’ which are important biological defense mechanism against diseases such as cancer
•    Acts as a medium for emotional release
•    Reduces anxiety and tension
•    Helps in the spiritual growth of an individual, and psychological well-being
•    Empowers, improves self-esteem and self-confidence
•    Acts as a healing therapy for the disabled

Drum Circle Groups in India
•    Taal Inc., Pune
•    Drum Jam, Bangalore
•    Drum Café

Apart from these, different cities have come up with their own Drum Circle groups, who conduct these sessions.

With the increasing popularity of the Drum Circle, a lot of companies have started taking corporate sessions for their employees, to ease them and enhance their potential.
Drum Circle finally is one of the most brilliant music therapies of all times, and its increasing popularity is just a proof for the same. So the next time you get bogged down by your worries and tensions, don’t sweat, just get your hands on the drums, and drum away those blues!

Aditi Ananthanarayanan