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Get Your Flu Shot in a Drum Circle?

Circles Of Rhythm - The Integrated Community Drum Circle - Calgary, AB - The #1 Community Drum Circle in Canada!

By:  Judy Atkinson

Living Well Between the Beats

Last Friday night I attended the first Circles of Rhythm drum circle in 2019 and the following quote, which was written after my very first drum circle in 1997, came to mind and became a reality once again:

“I walked into the drum circle sad and weary, I walked out on fire!”

The drums were beating, the lights were dimmed, hearts were opening and joy was in the air.  I closed my eyes and felt the skin of my drum; it was pulsating, physically moving to the heart beat of the circle, connected to every person there, to every hand, every heart. Everyone was engaging and involved whether listening, drumming, dancing or sitting quietly, everyone was giving and receiving in harmony, connected, ONE. 

Then it happened! Joy rushed through me like lightening.  It was electric; goosebumps raised every hair on my body and I was taken back to the feeling I had at my first drum circle so many years ago.  That feeling was one of hope, fearlessness, connection and pure unadulterated JOY!

This experience was a reminder that the drum circle is a place where I can go when I am sad, lonely or world-weary.  It is a place where I can go to have an actual in-the-body experience of hope for our seemingly falling down world; a place where I can let go of my own fear, worry and doubt for a while and just let the rhythm of those gathered hold me.  

Image taken @WUB_Gathering 2018 in Banff, AB

Circles of Rhythm drum circles are like flu shots providing an immune boost for hopeful thinking while counterbalancing the negativity in the news and media.  Over time the drum circle has helped me come to know deep down that the purpose of life is to live fully, to embrace it all, the good and the not so good, getting help and support when I need it, offering it when needed by others and truly enjoying the beauty of this earth and good times as they present themselves as well. 

“Years of attending drum circles has helped me to know that heaven on earth is not something to seek or to look for, it is something that comes through me when I allow it, notice it, and set myself up for it by putting myself in those places and with those people who know this too!”   –Judy Atkinson, Messenger of Joy

 So, let heaven come through you in 2019.  Stop trying so hard to feel good. It’s easy in a drum circle, you just have to show up as often as possible and get dose after dose of good medicine.  You will begin to know that goodness and harmony are not only possible but right here in front of you, pulsating through you wanting to be heard and acknowledged.   Joy is awaiting you in the drum circle, come get your flu shot, of joy regularly. 

See you in the circle!

Judy Atkinson, Founder: Circles of Rhythm

Author: The Drum Code, Living Well Between the Beats,403-862-5654

Judy Atkinson continues to support the growth and development of Circles of Rhythm from afar while she travels – and – as a board member of the Circles of Rhythm Foundation. Thank you Judy for your ongoing support, wisdom, and strength over the years.
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Teacher’s Drumming For Wellness


Teachers and staff came together at their Professional Development day with a drum circle.  Many of them had no idea what to expect when they came into it. How could drumming be a way to Wellness? Also how could drumming be an effective way to demonstrate a sense of team? As the time progressed the answers started to become clear. They were drumming so well together, listening to one another, playing together, speeding up and slowing down together, and recognizing that each of them had an important role to play in the group, even the tiniest egg shakers. Everyone’s ‘voice’ matters, and they needed to listen to one another to make their group song. All levels of musicality were respected, from the beginners, to the experienced drummers, and each person felt heard and valued. They were given an opportunity to lead one another, and this really demonstrated their unique personalities and approach to leadership. Not to mention that this was a great time, full of engagement and camaraderie. All of these elements are the same key elements that it takes to be a part of a successful team.
Here are some quotes from the teachers regarding their impressions of drumming before and after:

“To be quite honest I was quite skeptical. But shortly after everything got started we all really got into it. I was surprised that everyone was so involved!”
“It was great to see how people came in and seemed so reserved, and as it went on you could watch them open up and become very engaged.”

Many of the teachers were surprised that the experience was stress relieving as well. Here are some of the quotes directly from the teachers:

“I had no idea this would be so relaxing.”
“I did not realize how much stress I was holding onto, until I started drumming.”
“This experience really showed the balance of loud and soft, and the importance and value of silence. You could really feel how palpable silence is after a loud drumming round.”
“I normally like my classroom to be quiet, so it was interesting that I was okay with the noise in the drum circle.”

Find out what messages the drum circle has for your team, and how it could benefit them! If you have a workplace that would like to drum contact us today!
Written by
Jamie Gore


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Culture and Drumming

I had the honor of drumming with some Japanese students on their visit to Canada. Twelve drum circles over the course of three days. Intense! Each group was a class of 25 students all learning the English language. They were visiting Canada and came out to Canmore area to spend time in the Canadian Rockies. They spent one of their days out at Boundary Ranch and were able to participate in four amazing experiences. Dream catcher making, dog sledding, snow shoeing and a drum circle!

The drum circle was a highlight of their time, for both myself and them. Each group had their own gifts to bring to the circle, but as the workshops went on I began to notice and appreciate the culture of the Japanese people. Some of the things I noticed were, a deep respectful nature, a real focus on attention to detail, and getting the rhythms just right, and how the girls played so softly, and the boys played as loud as they could! By the end of the circles they were having so much fun and really getting into the synergy of drumming together.

On the last day the youth were clearly all needing some space to just relax, they had been having such a full week already. The first group to come through was practically falling asleep on their drums! I was thinking that the rest of the groups would be the same. But you can never really know what to expect, so I stayed open for the next group. To my surprise they were FULL of zest! This group absolutely loved the drum circle. They loved it so much that they asked to come back on their lunch break to have a spontaneous drum circle. I let them get into it on their own, without facilitation. This spontaneous drumming was so joyful and free, and it was exactly what any facilitator hopes to see. They were using all the skills I had shown them in their facilitated drum circle, and it drew a crowd of the other students to share in the joy.

Our drum circles are not specific to one culture, and it really shows that everyone in the human race can come together with the drum, it is a language all on its own. We overcame the boundary of language, and created true communication without words.  We created such a memorable experience for these teens, that they will bring back and remember for the rest of their lives.

I am so excited to work with them again next year already!!

Written by
Jamie Gore

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Messages from a Team

I was honored to facilitate a drum circle with the focus of team building for Fortis Alberta. They were a group of twelve, and it was clear from the beginning that they were an amazing team. We went through rounds of drumming to warm them up to their new tool, the drum, and to notice what it takes to make a drum circle work, and how that is comparable to making a team work! They had an amazing drum circle, full of rhythm and connection.  At the end of the session they were able to dialogue about how drumming is comparable to their work and what comparisons they could make. Here are some of the key messages they came up with as a TEAM

Messages from a Drum Circle

Timing! It is so important- knowing when to come in and when to step out. Know when to stop and when to start.

You cannot go full speed ahead all the time or you will burn out and be ineffective. You need to slow down sometimes as well.

If one person loses their beat, it can impact the entire group. The team keeps the work alive and supports one another to keep the rhythm going in sync. If one person needs a break, the group will keep the momentum going.

TRUST! Counting on one another! When you trust your colleagues it empowers them to do the best they can.

We are all equal, and partners, no one dominates in this group. It is very important in this organization, and each of us has our expertise to bring to the group.

It is so important to know both strengths and weaknesses in the group.

Consider bringing Circles of Rhythm into your workplace to bring your team messages out!
Written by Jamie Gore

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Rhythms of Leadership, U of C one-day Seminar

Circles of Rhythm is offering a new program at the University of Calgary, Rhythms of Leadership.  Note the description and registration proceedures below.  This is an exciting development in the academic world, linking drum circles to leadership in a powerful integrated arts education one-day seminar.  Hope to see you there!  Octover 26, 9-5

Course Description

To register go to and then scroll down to a grey box on the left side, type in Rhythms of Leadership and it will come up, course # BUS 252.

Building camaraderie and collaboration, breaking down barriers, balancing leading with following, and creating a sense of meaning and purpose are key skills required by today’s leader. Experience the power of the drum in this innovative, hands-on  Circles of Rhythm© drum circle approach to facilitating lessons in leadership. Everyone will receive a drum to play to become fully functioning members of a drum circle team. Sharpen your communication and listening skills and examine the four forgotten needs that energize great performance: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Over the course of the day you will discover the core rhythms of transformational servant leadership and walk away inspired, refreshed and relaxed.

Topics include:

  • Developing collaborative leadership
  • Building trust and camaraderie
  • Inspiring meaning and purpose at work
  • Balancing leading with following
  • Leader self-care


Certificate for Emerging Leaders topic area: Personal Effectiveness

To register go to and then scroll down to a grey box on the left side, type in Rhythms of Leadership and it will come up, course # BUS 252.