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“Drumming is dancing with your hands.” -Arthur Hull, Author of Drum Circle Facilitation, Father of the Modern Day Drum Circle at Village Music Circles

It was the summer of 2008 in San Diego, and I had just met up with my friend Meeshi one afternoon for lunch. We were both interested in learning more about each others’ respective practices. I was a music therapist, and he was a dance instructor (swing, specifically) with a genuine interest in using movement for healing.

When I mentioned that I was going to attend a rhythm training that August, he asked who the trainer was. Of course, it was Arthur Hull. I was very excited to attend the 2008 Hawaii training. Meeshi said “Arthur Hull? When I lived in Santa Cruz 15 years ago, I would go to his drum circles. I was totally comfortable with free-form dance with the drum accompaniment, but when it came to drumming, I was very shy and self-conscious. So eventually, Arthur noticed my discomfort. He approached me and said ‘Drumming is just dancing with your hands.‘ That turned on a huge light bulb for me, and I’ve been comfortable drumming ever since!”

Aside from the synchronicity that Meeshi, a random dancing friend I happened to meet, *knew* who Arthur Hull was…

Arthur’s line “Drumming is dancing with your hands” has stuck with me ever since: during the Hawaii training, during my post-Hawaii inspired months of music therapy practice in 2009, during older adult music therapy sessions, during drum circles.

I started using Arthur’s words in my sessions: “Drumming is dancing with your hands.” I found that for a generation who holds dancing (swing, jitterbug, foxtrot, and more) so close to the heart, these words are a powerful trigger to cue dancing memories and play those memories out on the drums! At the same time the reminiscence occurs, the drumming and music bring the group right into the present moment. It’s really an incredible phenomenon to witness!

We started waltzing on the drums, then we tried a cha cha, then polka, then more and more… Dancing on the drums was a HIT with my older adult clients! They shared their favorite songs for each dance. I documented what they told me, I documented how we did it, and Drumify was born.

All in all, the benefits of group drumming are obvious to the participants themselves, caregivers, families, and administrators. But what an even more meaningful opportunity to “dance” for individuals less-likely to stand for long periods of time or dance on the feet. You can always dance on a drum, even if by hand-over-hand assistance!

Read all about the Drumify Dances for Older Adults DVD or buy now below:

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