What is Group Empowerment Drumming?
In short, it is a Community Drum Circle which is fun, highly interactive, and powerfully connecting. Everyone has a rhythm instrument to play. There are many ways in–many ways to embark on a rhythmical journey together. It all depends on the desired outcome.
In effect, the experience is altogether shaped by the creative spirit of members of the group. Jumping into the groove is easy. No special musical talent is needed. The beats are catchy. Spontaneity flows.
Having begun formal study of the West African Djembe in 1993 with Master Drummer Maurice Haltom of Ithaca, NY, in 2005 I felt drawn to take my energy and passion for drumming into the field of wellness and community building; I began drum circle facilitator training.
As a consultant and professional Drum Circle Facilitator, since 2006 I’ve facilitated numerous wellness and community building group events, working with many populations with a variety of needs. These include colleges and elementary schools (students and staff), businesses, Elder communities (Assisted Living, Memory Care & Nursing Care), youth at risk, adults in recovery, Veterans Hospitals, and communities which assist and educate children and adults with special needs.
I am a certified HealthRHYTHMS facilitator. What is HealthRHYTHMS?
Click and scroll down for a video presentation: http://remo.com/experience/post/healthrhythms/
I have also been a student of Arthur Hull of Village Music Circles (Santa Cruz, CA) http://villagemusiccircles.com/
Over the years I have evolved my own style and methodology, based on these teachings.
In 2013, I moved to Northern Arizona. My team and I are now offering programs to individuals and communities in the Cottonwood/Sedona areas, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Phoenix with some travel wider afield.
Some of our Arizona clients (past and present) include: Rainbow Acres Ranch (adults with developmental delay), The Sanctuary at Sedona (drug alcohol and trauma rehab); Sedona Winds, Cottonwood Village, Austin House (Memory Care); Cupertino Power Learning Academy (children with autism); Mountain Valley Prep, Yavapai County Juvenile Probation, Yavapai Community College and more.
What might one “spontaneous breakout” kind of Group session look like?
Here,co-creating fun and smiles — drumming with families at a local park. https://vimeo.com/162451255
And with Elders at Walden Place, Cortland NY. Our company’s first incarnation
as Sound Circles ~ “Rhythm Workshop”
Our newest program centers on experiencing Mindful Breathing & Walking, linked together rhythmically.
This group experience (1.5 to 3 hours) may include drums or not.
With drums, participants learn the ABCs of Frame and Single-Stick Drumming (Native American). The experience is highly interactive and energizing and is centered on core, holistic (non-western) rhythmic forms, which in my experience arise out of simple, natural, two-step walking and the waltz-like (in 6 pulse) rhythm of the heart.
Participants are introduced to the healthful, transformative practice of Mindful Breathing and Mindful Walking, integrated. This we call “Flow-Walk”.
While this practice is shaped by the core rhythmic forms of two-step and heartbeat(noted above), creativity happens as anyone can invent his or her own form with the simple knowledge of 2-stepping. Verbal affirmations and mantras can be incorporated to enhance the beneficial effects.
The non-drum experience employs body beats, instead of drums.
In either format, participants come away with practical tools for generating peacefulness, personal-power, and resiliency. This may include support materials and downloadable mp3 tracks, to use as reminders, as cues.
We offer: DRUM FOR WATER (1.5 hours) We begin with an inner circle of women leading; men take on a supportive role at the outer circle.
With frame/hoop drums, this program integrates the core, holistic rhythms described above with focused attention on sending appreciation to water. The group may compose simple verbal messages which are chanted/sung; free vocalizing is encouraged. Other artful additions may be included such a free movement.
DRUM FOR WATER is about Women tapping into and celebrating their creativity and natural power, with men in a supportive role.
In our all our programming, establishing a circle environment of safety, equality, non-judgement and fun is hugely important for achieving a successful outcome, with smiles, heart connections and positivity blossoming. There is no such thing as a “rhythm klutz”. We all are naturally rhythmical. Do not believe anyone who says you are not rhythmical. Most especially, do not believe yourself. Truth is–you are wholly and perfectly rhythmical, simply by being alive and human.
We believe that there is enduring truth in the statements: ALL are connected. One is ALL. ALL LIFE is intimately, interdependently related. When drumming together, in a supportive way, our awareness opens up to the power of these truths.
Group Empowerment Drumming has proven to be an effective wellness and community building modality. Yet, not all rhythm circles are alike. Our programming is set apart in that it is solely about freedom of expression; it’s not about creating “proper rhythmical song”.
It is not about drumming or rhythm-making, per say. It is about building a healthy relationship with one’s body and mind. It’s about taking an active role in self-care, being responsible for one’s own well-being. We believe that practicing respect and love for self and for others are keys to happiness.
Truly, Group Empowerment Drumming is about honoring and building bridges, improving communication, creating harmonious relationships, and choosing Love.
In all programming we provide all rhythm instruments and can accommodate up to 50 persons, with potential for many more.
Our rhythmical toolkit includes West African Djembe drums, frame drums, a 27″ gathering drum, and is rounded out with an eclectic, artful array of handcrafted shakers, woods and metal “voices” from around the world. Adding in “Body beats” and vocalizations widens the possibilities.
It’s quite possible to have a powerful experience using only rhythms we can make with our voices and bodies, with or without percussion instruments.
Are you ready to leap into something new, fun and positively transformative? Set out on a powerful, rhythmical, heartful adventure?
How may we serve you? How may we serve your group, your organization?