The Positive Powers of Drumming: enlisting your passions and encouraging your immune response.

How often do you get a chance to sit with a group of really passionate people? There is one awaiting you.  You may not realize how something as simple as drumming can change so many physical, mental and emotional aspects.

I will never forget my mother’s 70th Birthday Celebration.  A large group convened to honor her and tell stories about how she came into their lives and what she meant to them.  One present from her immediate family was a high quality Djembe from Africa.  She turns 86 this year and has been in a women’s only drumming group for more than 15 years. The stories abound about her drumming experiences: She even had the privilege of playing for Arthur Hall, a famous African American Dance Choreographer because she showed up one hour early to a gig with her drumming group.

Drumming Circles are a way to bring a great diversity of people together.  It’s surprising how everyone has their own natural rhythm and way of interacting.  When we honor each other in the process of learning drumming for the first time or a new song, there is a creative well available to each person in their personal expression. As a teacher, my students have taught me the essentials of how each person learns from a very specific viewpoint initially, their own .

So what makes drumming good for your health?

Research documents the value of drumming and its specific effects on the body, mind and brain.   Author Daniel Siegel has a paradigm for Wellness and it’s formed like a triangle of Mind – Brain – Relationships.  These three aspects are vital to any person drumming.  Drumming is ALL about being in relationship.  Rhythms provide a way for players to integrate and establish a foundation for musical structure. There is always room for personal expression in soloing and leading the group dynamically.

Research indicates that drumming accelerates physical healing. It boosts the immune system to stir feelings of well-being, to start releasing emotional traumas, to invigorate self-exploration and self-realization. Specific studies by music therapists and mental health practitioners show how drumming can help:

Establish connectedness within a drumming circle and reduce anxiety

Reduce chronic pain by improving concentration

Enhance the immune system with passionate play

Stress reduction and release of tension by self-expression

The Mind, Brain and Drumming:

Drumming combats Stress and Depression.  After participating for one hour,samples of blood from participants revealed reversals of the hormonal stress response and an increase in natural immune cell activity (Bittman, Berk, Felten, Westengard, Simonton, Pappas, Ninehouser, 2001, Alternative Therapies, vol. 7, no. 1).

In another study at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, thirty people suffering from depression over 80 years old found that after participating in a weekly music therapy group they were feeling less anxious, less distressed and had higher self-esteem (Friedman, Healing Power of the Drum, 1994).

Many other studies point the way to improving your health by Drumming.  Isn’t it time you got involved in a drumming circle?

What’s my story?  I started drumming as a child when I was given a drum set at age 9.  I heard an album of music from North India and became fascinated with the tabla drums. I went to a concert at age 13 and the rich tapestry of the drums and sitar dazzled me. I didn’t really play and practice until I went to college. At a Jazz Workshop I learned to hone the skills to really have a passionate time. I am unique in how I play and I believe everyone has a special way of sensing and playing music.

I was teaching a large workshop of some 35-40 Native American Flute players one weekend.  The best day occurred when I showed up without an agenda. What occurred that day was mind blowing.  A dialog began about how each person felt and experienced “time” differently.  The group ranged from well-trained classical musicians, to jazz enthusiasts to those who simply trained themselves by ear.  As people shared their experiences, the bonding and affinities emerged.  It opened the door for each person to feel connected to each other and the group and the music created in community.

How to find a drumming circle in you neighborhood?

Drumming circles can be found at community centers, churches, music schools, co-ops and a many other public facilities.  It is never too late to get started and you might be surprised by who you meet!

And you can start here:

Scott Wurtz B.A., LMP., PBP (Professional Bowenwork Practitioner) is a Healer & Spiritual Teacher. He began his medical studies in 1981 and continues to hone his healing skills, focusing on Bowenwork Manual Therapy with a full time private practice since 2005.  Scott deeply listens to your story, your physical body and your dynamic neural pathways. Bowenwork stimulates wellness and releases dysfunctions – serving your own unique way of healing. Scott is also a musical educator with 30 plus years as Professional World Percussionist.  He is a parent with two talented young adults, a professional Storyteller, Writer, Qi Gong  & Exercise Instructor and received professional accredited Coach training with an ICF credentialed program at Invite Change in WA state.. (206) 524-5511