What makes a successful Drum Circle?

I run a regular drumming program for adults with disabilities and have had some of the participants coming regularly for over a year. Yesterday (April 11th) we had our first of a nine week session and I asked the group to tell me some of the reasons why they like the drum circle. Many great answers came up, one lady said she likes the drumming program because it helps her with her anxiety.
Another man said, “You guys are like my other family.” That one nearly brought tears to my eyes.
They feel equal, heard, valued, and respected in the one hour session we create together each week. As their facilitator, I focus on what is going well in the circle, and celebrate the things that are going right, instead of seeing the misbeats as mistakes. They all bring their best effort, and some of them never actually play on beat, but that is not why we are there!
At the beginning of the session, when I was signing everyone in, a lady arrived that did not have a disability, and she was not an aid either. She had paid for the program and was under the impression that is was just a drum circle! Well, I welcomed her! It was a risk! At about the half way point of the session I approached her to see what her thoughts were, as this is clearly an adapted program for adults with a disability. She said, “If you would let me stay I will, because I love drumming and this is such a great experience. This is bringing a smile to my face! You mentioned that everyone here is welcome and equal and I would like to keep coming.”
My heart was so pleased to hear her say that!!! A truly great day of drumming!

Written by

Jamie Gore