What is Rhythm?
we live in a world where discouragement battles encouragement.
Learning ways of constructive achievement help with internal
and external strife . Self realization is an important step
in helping people with their own identity and voice. The visual
and audible arts are age old methods of self expression. From
early times in history the drum has been used as a healing
tool. Rhythm is relevant from the basic structures of language
i.e.. Enunciation to exclamation. Rhythm exists in everything!
Today, a new wave of rhythm culture is sweeping across the
world, effecting all ages, races, and all factions of society.
Rhythm is an awakening of creativity and enlightenment and
completely accessible to all.
Many people say that they donÕt have rhythm. But with a deep
breath and a moment of self analysis one can hear the rhythms
inside and the world around. There are many paths of achieving
rhythmical bliss. Listen to your heart, hear its beating,
then express it! Clap your hands, stomp your feet, grab a
pot from the kitchen or a bucket from the street and make
rhythm. Like meditation, drumming helps with self realization,
and in developing interdependent relationships. From the first
symbiotic relationship between mother and child, our hearts
have been part of the orchestra of life. Beginning from the
most inner microcosm to the furthest cosmos science has been
measuring rhythm and time. Doctors record and study the rhythms
of our bodies through the heart, brain, muscles, etc. Drumming
has been acknowledged for its positive healing effects, and
improving the immune system. In fact, there are studies being
and done about its astounding impact in the treatment for
Cancer, AlzheimerÕs Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and ParkinsonÕs
Disease. Drum circles varied uses extend from community celebrations
to healing programs that work with all levels of participants.
Drumming can relieve stress and has been proven to develop
the sense of community, it lifts spirits, increases curiosity,
and stimulates a positive interactive environment of intrigue.
One common way to develop this is the assembly of a Drum Circle.
A Drum Circle is composed of various found sounds, drums,
percussion instruments, and vocals. Everybody drums in a musical
endeavor, without manipulation. Drum Circle Facilitators rise
to the service during transition points in an effort to re-focus
the group, empowering the individuals and group through rhythm.
an small companies like Remo,
and All One Tribe are birthing in the music therapy community,
producing instruments that are valuable tools of self expression.
Taking into considerations the various age groups, and levels
of health, these companies have been producing instruments
that are durable, and easy to use. Drums come in all shapes,
sizes, and weight. Some drums are completely synthetic, while
others are hand crafted as they were thousands of years ago.
ItÕs important to find the right instrument for yourself and
to feel connected and grounded. Through group drumming, individual
internal rhythms synchronize with the entire group. In a group
sessions people are empowered and stimulated through the voices
of the instruments. Energy swells as participants share joyful
bliss conversing through a dance of sound. From the two hands
of a hand drummer to the pulsating clap of an energized crowd,
there is a call and response between participants. Drum circles
are popping up all over the world, creating informal social
gatherings of an eclectic mix of society. Sometimes as small
as 4 people to large groups of hundreds to thousands, a community
is formed through the use of sound. Locally (Fredericksburg)
drum circles are held regularly at Eyeclopes
Studios, Kokopelli, Libraries and in local parks. People
bring their own instruments, or use ones provided at the gathering.
Some drum circles are culturally specific, i.e. West African
or Middle Eastern inspired, generally though, drum circles
are just plain fun.
Rhythm is a Dance! Its open to interpretation, one should
not fear or discourage its powerful effects. One should embrace
it, nurture, and watch it grow. Its flowering everywhere and
changing all the time. The healing paths of rhythm, are documented
through articles, books, CDs, and the Internet.
Ken Crampton is the owner of Eyeclopes Studio. Its a Gallery
and Shop showcasing new art shows every four months. Eyeclopes
offers classes, has a rentable community room, and markets
a wide array of drums and international percussion instruments.
I have been dedicated to the regional arts scene for over
15 years, and served as President of the Fredericksburg Center
for the Creative Arts (1994-97). Conceived and created the
famous New Years Eve Pear (used in the First Night Celebration).
Recently one of my designs have been adapted to be placed
on drums created by All One Tribe in Taos, NM. I an advocate
of First Fridays, a monthly celebration of the arts and community
in historic downtown Fredericksburg. Everybody Drum is my
outreach program empowering people through rhythm. The program
includes visiting schools, and working in the community. It
was created over 10 years ago. Ive been drumming for over
17 years, facilitated drum circles for 13 years and studied
with master facilitator Arthur Hull, Babatunde Olatunji, and
Mamady Keita. I hold regular drum circles, and work with festivals,
public schools, head start, and at-risk programs. I also teaches
drum construction workshops and classes. Check out my web