be Sold in
by Christine Stevens
Playing with our hands or a single mallet makes drumming most accessible.
The crucial element seems to be the focus on fun, self-expression, support, and connection. These are much more important than whether people can read a sheet of music, play a paradiddle, or count out different metric signs. In fact, without any knowledge of specific rhythms, I have seen many music-therapy clients play amazing rhythms. I remember one drum circle with a group of Alzheimer's patients in which a woman started a rhythm in 5/4. As if that wasn't amazing enough, the whole group followed along, completely unaware of the complexity of what they were doing - sounding fantastic and having a blast!
SHOULD DRUMS BE SOLD IN PHARMACIES?
A pharmacy exists in my mind where drums are shelved next to St. John's Wart as a homeopathic mood-enhancer. Where a directory of "rhythmic health fa-cilitators" sits on the counter at which you pick up your prescriptions. Where a pharmacist hands customers an information page listing local drum circles in the community.
The next five years will hold some amazing cultural changes as the rhythm of percussion continues to provide a strong track for the dance of the growing interest in health and wellness. With drumming and wellness receiving press in such popular magazines as Discover (August 2001), First for Women Magazine (August 27, 2001), Time (May 7, 2001), and Prevention (June 2001), it won't be long until this movement is embraced globally.
Given the tenants of Eastern medicine, the drumming and wellness paradigm is already becoming popular in Asia. In a recent Remo tour of five Asian countries, John Fitzgerald and Ifacilitated an out-door community drum circle in the People's Republic of China. It was revolutionary. And behind the two hundred smiling faces there was a giant banner that read "Drum Circle and Music Health Workshop."
"Music health workshops" exist in every session of the Empower Asthma Management Program for those children who get to express their own rhythms while learning about their disease. They exist in the music therapy sessions where Alzheimer's patients play paddle drums and experience a quality of life that is difficult to reach from their state of illness. And they exist in the programs of rhythmical health facilitators who understand how drum circles contribute to the lives of many thirsty people looking to enhance their mind, body, and spirit through music.
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