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Drum Circles: Why We Come Together to Drum Together

drum circleThis week I had the joy of leading a Drum Circle at San Antonio Nurse Midwife Nikki McIver-Brown’s cozy office in Bracken Village. Not only does Nikki provide pregnancy, home birth, and well-woman care, she also fosters a strong sense community for parents by hosting La Leche League meetings, Babywearing International meetings, car seat safety classes, essential oils classes, drum circles, and other events.

While most people in San Antonio know me as a doula, I have also been a percussionist since birth. My father is a drummer, which means that drums have been a part of my life since I had enough coordination to hold a drumstick. Over and over while playing the drum set, various percussion instruments in the school band, and hand drums, I have experienced the peaceful state of mind brought on by creating music.

The drum is the oldest instrument in the world, aside from the human voice. Over the course of history it has been used to relay messages across great distances and create sacred space for special rituals across cultures. Drumming has been shown to strengthen the brain and alleviate symptoms for people with Alzheimer’s, ADD, and depression. Drumming engages the entire brain, leading to increased clarity and creativity.

Within the space of our Drum Circles, experienced and new drummers are part of an open atmosphere where they are free to create and experiment, where there is no way to do it “wrong.” Even if a drummer misses a note, they will find that within the community of the drum circle other people can pick up and carry the rhythm. They can lean on and support others at the same time.

Drum Circles are a beautiful way to leave the worries of the outside world for a little while and focus one’s mind on just one thing. Drumming brings people into the same meditative state as mindfulness practices, creating art, and even laboring, which means that everyone leaves feeling refreshed and recharged. Each and every Drum Circle has its own flavor cooked up by the unique group of people who are present. They are always different, and always delicious!

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