Once I was at a networking dinner, telling someone about group drumming, and he started laughing at me.  “Is there anything drumming isn’t good for?” he asked.  I laughed, too, realizing that I probably sounded like I was selling something from the olden days called snake oil.  Snake oil was fake medicine sold by fake doctors who claimed it could cure anything, which, of course, it couldn’t.  OK, so that’s what I sounded like, but there’s a crucial difference here.  Group drumming can actually do all the things I said it could do. 

Today, I remembered that conversation, then I thought of lists I’ve seen online, maybe you’ve seen them, too, 101 USES FOR…  Coconut oil, vinegar, and who knows what else.   Snake oil, anyone? 

So… Why not have a list like that for group drumming?

HERE YOU GO….  (Group drum roll, please!) 

In no particular order…. 


(I don’t expect to make it to 101 today.  I’ll add on over the coming days and weeks, and I hope other folks will add on, too!  I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

  1. Fun
  2. Blowing off steam
  3. Turning your ears on, practicing really listening
  4.  Practicing respecting others, by really listening, (see #3) and making room for everyone to be heard
  5.  Joy
  6.  Practicing being present, being in the moment, filling each moment with music, spirit, and community, or anything else you’ve got to offer, celebrating each moment as it comes.
  7.  Letting go of the “should have’s” of life–taking each beat as it comes.
  8.  Becoming aware of anger and expressing it in a therapeutic way with the drum
  9.  Expressing and experimenting with your best, bravest, most wonderful self
  10.  Becoming aware of sadness and expressing it in a therapeutic way
  11. Breaking the ice–easing the awkwardness of initial connection
  12. Dancing
  13. Laughter
  14. Silliness
  15. Building community
  16. Feeling and expressing affection
  17. Relaxing
  18. Reviving
  19. Celebration of life
  20. Celebration of uniqueness
  21. Celebration of commonalities
  22. Bonding
  23. Teaching, learning, growing
  24. Metaphor–group drumming is a fun way for a group to interact.  Meanwhile, the dynamics of a drum circle are the dynamics of any group experience, making the drum circle a great laboratory and tool for observing group behavior and learning new behavior.
  25. Corporate team-building–using drum play as a metaphor for the workplace
  26. Arts in Education programs–teaching hard to teach values like appreciation of diversity, cooperation, respect, courtesy,
  27. Arts in Education programs–curriculum enrichment for Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, Science
  28. Retreats
  29. Healing individuals–emotional and physical.  Engaging in the moment with group drum play helps people re-connect with life. Connecting with community relieves the isolation that can come with pain.
  30. Healing organizations–connecting with a positive activity like group drum play heals wounds.  It’s hard to hang onto anger when you’re making music.  And then the metaphor can be used to affect lasting healing.
  31. Conflict resolution–again, the power of metaphor comes into play.  The drum circle becomes a model for positive ways to work together and interact.
  32. Leadership–with minimal coaching, anyone can get up and lead some playing and use the experience as a metaphor for learning about any kind of leadership. 
  33. Feeling the power of yourself as an individual
  34. Feeling the collective power of your group

That’s all for today!  If you have anything to add, let us hear from you!


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