Here are 34 easy ideas that you and your participants can use to maximize your fun and improve your drum circles right away.
Feel free to copy this list and distribute to your regulars...
1. Remove your rings if you are borrowing someone’s drum.
2. Turn off your cell phone...and resist the urge to text. (Your Twitter fol-
lowers can wait...)
3. Listen first, play second.
4. Ask permission to use someone's drum before just picking it up.
5. Resist the urge to play louder than everyone else.
6. Get to know each other after the circle, hang out and chat after drumming.
7. Respect the drums you're borrowing.
8. Space! Leave space for others to play.
9. Make the betterment of the "group sound" be your number one priority.
10. If you are a newbie, pay attention to the more experienced drummers
around you and learn from them.
11. If you are an expert, remember the newbies in the group and give them
encouragement and guidance from time to time. Remember what it was
like when you first started drumming!
12. Worrying about mistakes? Fuughet abahht it! If you are a beginner, you may feel as though everyone is listening to you and your "mistakes" (even though they aren't)! Be brave and just play.
13. Unless you are facilitating, resist playing faster and louder in an at-
tempt to speed up the group.
14. If you get lost, listen for the downbeat - the main "pulse" of the rhythm
to find your way back.
15. Tired of drumming? Just dance!
16. Made a mistake during a session? Just SMILE and keep going and get
back INTO the group's vibe!
17. It's okay to not drum sometimes, so that you can really listen.
18. How about some hand percussion? Try a shaker, woodblock, or bell.
19. If playing a bell, make sure there is much space in your rhythm. Keep
the bell rhythm simple and steady.
20. Keep solos short and sweet and then come back and support the group
so others can take a "solo".
21. Drum with joy. Remember how fortunate we are to have the opportu-
nity to make music together. Have fun, you deserve it.
22. Breathe...relax...and open your heart to collective possibility..
23. Most importantly (in drumming or dance or life) drop into your heart.
Move beyond the thoughts of *how* to do it, or impressing someone,
etc....and into "what deep essence wishes to express through me and the
drum in this now moment?"
24. Open up to the healing energy that we create when we drum.
25. Feel the group pulse, as if it were your own.
26. In the words of the late great percussionist Bill Roth:
"It's not just what you play, it's also what you don't play."
"It's not just when you play, it's also when you don't play."
27. Realize that there are many different kinds of drum circles that will
lead to different kinds of experiences. Appreciate the value of diversity
and try to be conscious of the group dynamic or you may feel disappointed
that "they" didn't play the way you like!
28. Bring your best self! Your energy can positively or negatively impact
the circle - let go of negativity, feel the rhythm - listen - drum - dance - be
29. Leave your ego at the door! (Or even in the car...)
30. Listen, feel, listen, breathe, listen..
31. Bringing children to a circle can be a great thing, and it can also be disruptive depending on how it's approached. Be sure to look after them.
32. Understand that some people come to the circle with a different
method of "feeling" the music due to disabilities they are triumphing over.
33. Why not turn the circle into an excuse to eat as well? Have a potluck afterwards and get to know each other.