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The Therapy Of The Drum

Sep 12, 2008
Drums are one of the few, perhaps the only, musical instruments to earn a very unique distinction in human culture. Not only are they utilized for the traditional purpose of music, but they have been put to other uses as well. One of the most interesting of these alternative uses is that of music therapy. Music therapy is an approach that uses music to address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. The American Music Therapy Association defines this type of therapy as "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship." There are claims that music therapy can promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication and promote physical rehabilitation.

Although many might assume that drum therapy is a fairly recent advent, this is not necessarily the case. Some proponents advocate that drum therapy is an ancient technique and evidence of its history may be found in both Asia and Africa, where some of the world's oldest civilizations reside. While it may be true that drum therapy has been around for thousands of years, it is also true that in the 20th and 21st centuries, science has been used in an attempt to verify the therapeutic effects of drum therapy and its rhythm techniques. Much to the delight of drummers everywhere, some studies indeed show that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system, produces feelings of wellbeing and even has a calming effect on people suffering from Autism, Alzheimer's and various traumatic experiences.

Drums, especially those played with the bare hand, are often used in music therapy for two reasons. One, they are exceptionally tactile in nature and two, they are easy to use. This combination makes them ideal for therapeutic situations. The act of drumming is believed to help people express and address emotional issues that may be otherwise difficult to face. It allows the drummer to create an external and almost physical manifestation of whatever frustration they may feel inside.

Drum circles are a popular form of music therapy. In such a situation, each person is able to express themselves through their individual instrument while simultaneously participating as part of a larger whole. Such groups can range from just a few people to literally thousands of individuals. Drum circles have no beginning or end, no top or bottom. Such a construction places every participant on equal footing, another important component in a therapeutic situation. Drum circles may be facilitated, meaning that they are, to some degree, guided by a facilitator who encourages the participants. The circles may also be anarchic, possessing no formal leadership or moderation.

Drum circles may also have a spiritual focus, which for some is an important component of therapy. The practices most commonly associated with drum circles are Neo-Paganism, sometimes referred to as Wicca, and those of the Native American people. The drum circles of Neo-Pagans can also involve changing, singing, poetry and spoken artistry and are generally anarchic. Those of the Native Americans are usually facilitated by a shaman who uses the music of the circle to enter a trance or go on a spiritual journey.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio. You can find the best marketplace at these sites for drums, music therapy, drum therapy, sheet music, guitar tabs, and home theater audio.
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