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For Beginners:
How to Listen in a Drum Circle

 Playing in circles is all about listening, feeling the rhythm in your body and finding ways to connect to other people's playing.

Don't worry if you are new to drumming. Just keep the beat and drum slow enough that you can have a good time. Once you get more comfortable, new grooves will just come to you on their own.

Keeping your volume balanced with the circle is crucial. We have a lot of didj and Native American flute players come and we absolutely value them as an important fiber of our experience! If you are playing a drum designed to play loudly, like a djembe, you need to be extra sensitive of your volume. You have the power to help people keep the beat but also the responsibility to drop back in when things are in a groove.

Speaking of giving room for the quieter instruments, if there are a lot of melodic instruments in the jam, we need to give space for different people to play. Some melodic instruments can have a big of influence on the jam, too, so remember to stay connected with the group and to move on with the jam is ready to roll.

If someone forgets their connection with the circle and goes off in a way that is against the beat of the song or drowns people out from being able to hear each other, then the whole rhythm can run off the tracks. It is normal for the rest of the group to ride it out and wait for them to come back but if they don't, the host may come up and give a "quieter signal", asking them to listen and sync with the group. Or sometimes people just stop playing and wait until there is a consistent beat. It is good to learn to drum in this listening way.

If you get a signal to quiet or slow, it does not mean that people are mad or that you are a bad drummer. It's just a call to remember the circle and get back in sync. It's not meant to be a harsh thing. It's meant to be a "Hey we like your spirit. Please come and play WITH us." thing.

If we don't tend the circle in that way, over time, people tend to leave the spirit jam and we don't want that at all. At the same time we don't want people to leave the circle because they feel they cannot drum with all their skill, so remember, the goal is CO-Creation with other instruments, voices and dance. Let your talent shine!

If you are not sure if you are too loud, listen to see if you can hear the different instruments on the other side of the circle. If you can't hear them, you certainly can't play with them. We wanna play!

If you get lost, a good thing to do is to stop drumming, listen for who's holding the beat down and find a new place to come in.

Don't worry, there's lots of room for mistakes. At the same time we have to do what we can to keep the space spiritually and musically healthy. Please do come back! It's too much fun not to!

Gratitude+Love = cycle of life 

Prayer = intent+being.


Another great article on the topic is here:






How to Play with Turtles