Since ancient times, drummers expressed themselves through rhythms and ceremonies. Within the last 50 years, the concept of a drum circle has had application in modern mind, body and spirit classes.
Judy Miller, a Port Edwards-based educator and repeat School of the Arts instructor, will bring the drum circle to School of the Arts at Rhinelander July 20 to 24 with the course I Drum, You Drum: A Drum Circle. Miller will also offer the complimentary course I Sing, You Sing, which invites students to “join the fun as we sing together.”
“Drum circles” emerged in the 1980s as a term for a group of folks who informally make music together. The music is a group expression, born in the moment, and not directed by any one person. The instruments may range from drums to cans, buckets, pipes and other non-percussion instruments. “When we think of drumming, many of us naturally think of Native American drumming, much further back than a mere 50 years,” Miller said. “Current trends find drum circles within communities, corporate trainings, medical settings and in school settings.
“They are used for team building, stress reduction, exercise for mind, body and spirit, and sharing a creative experience.”
The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. The facilitator takes responsibility for giving directions to the group. “The beat of the drum connects with our inner rhythms as we both listen and play,” Miller said. “Safety within numbers creates a secure environment for our creative expression.
“Both I Drum, You Drum and I Sing, You Sing are very much hands-on,” she added. “There will be plenty of opportunities for students to try a variety of arrangements. Most of all, I know from experience that music brings out the fun in folks.”
I Drum, You Drum will be offered Saturday through Wednesday, July 20 to 24, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. I Sing, You Sing is offered Saturday through Wednesday from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. Registration information for these and all School of the Arts at Rhinelander classes is available at soawisconsin.org.
School of the Arts at Rhinelander will celebrate its 50th anniversary with this year’s classes, a fact not lost on Miller. “The fact that drumming is both old and new is the perfect reason for its inclusion in the 50th year of SOA,” she said.
“I hope that each student finds self-expression within each of these classes, and that students will leave feeling energized and with a sense of confidence that they have contributed a part to the whole. Most importantly, I know the sound of laughter will be a part of our ‘music’ as we make new, like-minded friends.”