This post comes to us from member and award-winning songwriter, educator and drummer Norm Jones.
Drum Circles offer an expressive, stimulating and accessible musical environment for children while providing valuable opportunities for them to learn & develop other skills. For years, Recreational Drumming in the form of Community Drum Circles has spread throughout America like wildfire as many adults look to tap into sources of inspiration for themselves. In most group-drumming events, highly skilled facilitators use their passion for drumming to guide the participants through basic rhythms and engage in an exchange of creativity. In the increasing number of drum circles geared towards children, the interaction has become the breeding ground for some amazingly fresh ideas in education and entertainment. After 10 years of sharing drums with thousands of children and witnessing the growth of a new generation, here are what I find to be 8 essential life skills that kids experience while participating in a drum circle:
The Drum Circle Framework
1. Respect – after being given a drum and allowed to freely express themselves, children learn to trust & follow the person who is capable of orchestrating their collective noise. They are equipped to identify and embrace authority.
2. Self Control – even though they have freedom, the children learn that it is equally important to know when to stop, as it is to know when to play. They realize that they have the ability to impact their environment positively or negatively.
3. Listening – once they are able to control their actions, children can begin to hear the differences and similarities of sounds. They are aware of their place within the larger group and it gives them a sense of belonging
4. Sharing – now that they can hear what’s happening around them, children enjoy creating with others and trying new ideas. They find a way to connect.
5. Cooperation – when they are satisfied with their place in the sound, children start to communicate and encourage the input of others. They feel empowered because their contribution is valued.
6. Confidence- since they can recognize the common rhythm within the group, children are more comfortable formulating new ideas to offer. They trust themselves more.
7. Expression – Because they feel self-assured, children won’t restrict their response to the pulsing beat. They have a impulse to bring out their hidden talents.
8. Creativity – knowing they are free to explore the rhythm, children show their ability to be spontaneous with the experience. They are able to react and adapt to different situations.
These are what I consider essential life skills. I would love to hear your opinion on these or any other ones that you feel are important and I’ll see if I could apply them to drumming as well! Please add your suggestions to the comments section below.