Drum Circles Bring Rhythm And Development

Organize a drum circle for the benefit of your community. It can bring joy, health, and knowledge to anybody willing to participate. I have lived in two cities with regular drum circles. Every temperate Friday evening in downtown Asheville, North Carolina’s music and food mecca, around 50 drummers meet to beat out a rhythm with hundreds of dancers and spectators. The spectacle also appears on Sundays in Washington DCs Malcom X Park. The gatherings of rhythm and movement build community and create an atmosphere of creativity and joy that can help build more rounded people.

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Drum Circle in Asheville, NC. Photo Credit: ?

drum, drum circle, community development,

Drum Circle in Washington DC. Photo Credit: Rhys Baker/The Barricades

The drums are diverse and at the drum circles I have been to the the participants are too. Drummers might tell you they brought a djembe, drum kit, cowbell, cajon, conga, or just some sticks to bang on trash cans. The spectators dance in groups with leaders, small cohorts, romantic pairings, or enraptured in individual flows. The ensembles have representatives from across demographics; old and young, homeless and wealthy, people with diverse skin tones and accents, families and friends. Overcoming bigotry is easier for those who have been exposed to people with different identities with positive outcomes, and attending a diverse drum circle can cover several bases in the exposure lottery in a short time. The only limiting factors are access to a percussive instrument, which can often be borrowed, free time, and the confidence to join in.

A drum circle is a free and easy way to bring a community together. It gives locals a social outlet in a relaxed community gathering and a route to learn through music and dance, undervalued skills in the modern West. Regular dance can hold off dementia, work as cardiovascular exercise for people of all ages and physical capacities, and improve your balance. Studies on drumming and health, performed by scientists who really have life worked out, have found many positive effects from the rhythmic practice. The most shocking being that it increases the production of T-cells which strengthen the immune system and can combat cancer growth. It also improves mood, helps control chronic pain, and helps people release negative emotions. The positive effects of drumming can also be gained from listening to drums, giving the drum circle dancers a double-boost. 

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There is no shortage of trauma in American communities today. The social-ills exposed on social media and in the mainstream news overwhelm readers with stories driven by poverty, mental illness, bigotry, and mass incarceration. Americans need to expose themselves to the targets of their prejudice, share their feelings, listen, and build bridges.

A Trump surrogate in the 2016 campaign season warned America that the country was headed toward some type of hellscape with a, “taco truck on every corner”. Supporters of multiculturalism celebrated this vision and memeified it. The phrase was meant divisively. Those arguing for an inclusive future and social development need to co-opt the phrase. To heal America today we need a drum circle on every corner and a populace open to beating out rhythms and moving their bodies with their neighbors and those who they feel divided from.  

To find your closest drum circle, American or International, check out DrumCircles.net.

And check out this TEDxTampaBay Talk on facilitating drum circles, there is a clickhole of relevant talks after it:

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