What the heck is a drum circle? Aren’t most drums a “circle”? Who goes there? Do I have to know how to play drums? These are a few of the questions I’m asked whenever I have invited or talked to someone about a drum circle. A drum circle or rhythm circle, simply put, is a group of people gathered into a circle for the purpose of making music. (Keyword “SIMPLE”) It’s a conversation. It’s a celebration. It’s rhythm. Rhythm is what we are and what we do. Without rhythm there is no movement; no movement, no life. Now, most drum circles I have attended do not put me in life or death situations. But it sure is exciting!
Most musician “jam” sessions can get pretty involved and “cut-throat”. All the cool cats trading licks and shredding riffs is only fun for other musicians into the “sport” of making music. But let’s not forget the most important rhythmic element in music, the “pulse”. It’s what keeps us moving and grooving! And that’s what happens at most drum circles, people locking into the pulse. We pretty much try to do that in our everyday lives at work and at home. Although not always banging on drums with hands, sticks or mallets. Principles of drumming can carry over into our whole existence- teamwork, diversity, humanity, vigorous exercise and the healing of spirit. Now imagine getting to share all of those elements with your children. I have been lucky to not only play drums and percussion professionally for over 25 years, but I have had the chance to teach music to kids from grade K-12 for the past 16 years! Plus, I am the father of an amazing 2 ½ year old daughter. I have experienced and gained from the healing effect that drumming and music brings to children. They are the most musical people I know.
Rhythm is a universal language known to everyone. The music company REMO is rhythm.
REMO has the top drumhead manufacturers in the world for over 50 years. They have truly advanced and expanded their company and mission by creating instruments, especially hand drums, to meet the ever-growing, ever-changing needs of drumming. As stated on their website, they “put a world of creativity in your hands.” REMO caters to the professionals as well as the growing number of part-time players on our planet. We are lucky to have REMO located here in Valencia, CA and even luckier to have a recreational center run by them in North Hollywood. The REMO Recreational Music Center first became known worldwide for offering a Free Tuesday Night Community Drum Circle. Along with the Tuesday night drum circle, the REMO RMC has expanded offering seminars, workshops, clinics, kids drum circles, concerts, classes, and wellness programs.
I have had a chance to attend almost all of their programs and events. However, the most fun I have had is sharing the weekly Kids Rhythm Club Community Drum Circles with Teagan. We have been attending since she was about 1 year old. What a journey it has been these past 18 months exploring and making music at this event through rhythm, songs and fun activities. Plus all the drums are provided by REMO. The events are non-competitive and run by licensed and well-practiced facilitators . It’s probably the most fun I have had with anywhere from 20 to 200 people. The reason? The “GROOVE”. What kind of groove can kids 1 yo to teens produce? Well, that depends a lot on the facilitator. He or she is kind of like the conductor of the orchestra. But at a Kids Drum Circle most of the attendees can’t play an instrument or even keep a steady beat. As I said, the facilitators are well trained and can guide any group of percussionists in pampers to a powerful and convincing groove. It’s not always cacophony and consequences. It’s “time-in” rather than “time-out”.
There are many types of Drum Circles, the hippie thunder drum circles, the ethno specific, meditation, healing, spiritual, beginners, intermediate, but my favorite is the facilitated Drum Circle! It takes a lot to guide and provide for this kind of family. It’s a lot like what we do as parents. Group rhythm making evolves from the earliest times of man or woman. When we couldn’t communicate verbally we grunted or banged something as a form of shared expression. That is a Drum Circle! Perfect for our babbling beat keepers! It’s one of the few times we join together in UNITY to express ourselves through another voice. Our children are individuals who need to let their voices be heard, especially when they haven’t found, produced or developed theirs yet. The Community Drum Circle is the use of a rhythm-based event as a tool for unity. It is NOT a drum class. Like creating art, playing drums, shakers and bells, offers a therapeutic tool to every individual.
I highly recommend checking out The Community Drum Circles and programs that REMO offers at their Recreational Music Center. For those of you not living in Southern California I recommend you search for events and organizations like this in your area. A community drum circle is a fun, family friendly event, where people empower each other in the act of celebrating community and life through rhythm and music. The center is located at 7308 Coldwater Canyon North Hollywood, CA 91605. Check out their event schedule at