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Drumming Therapy

Welcome to the Drum Circle

How Can Hitting A Drum Help Me?

  • Physical Health: Drumming is good for your immune system. Studies have shown that drumming has significant potential to boost the immune system and increase “natural killer cell activity”.
  • Mental Health: Drumming relieves stress and helps the mind focus and meditate resulting in physical, emotional and social benefits. Creating music with drums is an ‘active’ form of meditation and the release from stress and emotional trauma is phenomenal!
  • Emotional Health: Drumming is liberating and exhilarating. It improves your spiritual well-being as you express yourself in a natural, creative and energetic way.
  • Unity and Team Building: Interactive drumming breaks down barriers of hierarchy, age, gender, culture and language. Drumming is a great icebreaker and gets the group communicating, listening to one another and working together as a team to create music. It evokes togetherness and leaves you with a sense of belonging.

Don’t worry too much about these techniques! The idea is to have fun, not become an expert.

What happens?

  • The facilitator describes and demonstrates the use of different drums and percussion instruments to newcomers.
  • The session starts with a warm-up exercise to engage and relax the group.
  • A vocal element is introduced to engage the group in coordinated chanting/singing activities to boost their energy.
  • Participants are also encouraged to express their individual spirit and spontaneity through the beat of the drums.
  • Do remember – it is essential that you don’t put any objects on the drums and make sure you remove rings and watches as the drums are damaged easily.

How to Play the Drums

Djembe Drum

The Djembe can be held between the legs and slightly tipped forward or so the sound comes out the bottom. There are just three basic notes played on the Djembe:

  • The BASS sound is played by bouncing your whole hand off the centre of the drum, like bouncing a ball. Your hand should be inside the rim of the drum and your hand should be soft and flat.
  • The TONE sound is played by hitting just inside the rim of the drum with the pads of your four fingers, again with your fingers held together. Don’t hit the drum too hard until you get the knack of hitting it this way, as you can bruise your hands on the drum rim whilst you learn to get the right position.
  • The SLAP sound is the hardest to get and takes quite a bit of practice. The hands are a bit further forward than when playing the tone sound, with the fingertips almost reaching the centre of the drum. The hands are slightly cupped and the fingers are flicked off the drum surface, to get a  sharp, crisp sound.

Conga Drum

The Conga is played in much the same way as the Djembe, though there is more movement of the wrist when playing the tone sound. Also when playing the slap sound you may want to let your hand rest on the drumhead rather than rebounding off it.

A word from Phil, leader of Castle Craig’s Therapeutic Drumming Circle:

“Everyone can benefit from drum therapy, but I find that it is particularly beneficial for those who have difficulty in expressing themselves with words. When they are urged to express their creativity through drumming they come alive. They become excited and start enjoying themselves, they become comfortable within the group and with others. Everyone who comes to the drumming session leaves the room with a smile on their face.“

There is an evaluation form for your comments – what did you like? What would you like to see more of? All feedback (positive and constructive) is valued.

Last updated & clinically assessed 26 February, 2020