Hot Drum Circle at Tamburi Mundi Festival

A Hot Drum Circle at Tamburi Mundi Festival

This account of a hot Drum Circle is part of my on-going process of certification with Arthur Hull and Village Music Circles. The style of this article is adapted from specific journal method required for this process. Tamburi Mundi is the best known frame drum festival in the world. It’s more than an incredible collection of talents. It is a community!

A Hot Drum Circle at Tamburi Mundi Festival

When was the warmest time you had fun celebrating something?

This was a hot Drum Circle at Tamburi Mundi festival. I don’t think it needs to be any warmer than it was on that Saturday. Someone told me it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s plenty for me! Good thing we had ample shade and something of a breeze. I’m also very grateful for the helpers and other support provided by the festival staff.

This circle is an annual event that kicks off Tamburi Mundi. It is combined with a frame drum parade through the city of Freiburg. The parade ends up at the Drum Circle, which has by then already started. That is a good combination that we have settled upon through experience.

Build it up Slowly

We built up the circle very slowly because of the heat. Actually, that was the only sensible option. We made an perimeter with flags, in a sort of open circle form. It gives a clear sense of structure and inclusion without being a barrier. This I find important when working with the public: Show them orderliness without a feeling of exclusion. I made an inner circle with ground level seating on carpets. A second and third row of seating was on long straight benches.

I had gone to the park the day before, to find the spot that would become the middle point of the circle. That assured that the entire circle would be in the shade at the appointed time. With such a hot Drum Circle, I could not take chances with misjudging where the shade would be. We set up the circle and had had plenty of time to relax and chill out. This was also very helpful to keep myself together.

At first it looked like nobody was around, that this would be a no-show drum circle. Usually this public lawn would be fairly well populated. Usually people are lining up for the drum circle before it starts. This year it seemed everyone was at the lake or something.

There were actually just five of us on plastic buckets when the drum parade arrived from the city center. They straggled in, somewhat dazed and sweaty.

I let the drum parade people set the tempo and the first round of rhythm. I could see they were excited, but also very hot and tired (~Duh!) Did a relaxed and mellow series of very small interventions that slowly built up to a group rhythm consciousness.

Frame Drums were predominant.

Nearly everybody in this hot drum circle came with a frame drum directly from the parade. Hardly anyone sat down at the plastic buckets in the inner row. It seemed everyone was content to sit on the benches further back. I was a little surprised and disappointed by this development, but it was what I had for a working situation. Perhaps if there had been more people in the park beforehand, like in years before, the buckets would have been already in play. But this year there were indeed fewer people than usual. I slowly passed out small percussion, but the takers were few.

Get some Air in There

A small sound fits a hot drum circle.

The group had already been playing more or less together for the parade. So they already had a rhythm going and a sort of group identity. There was no point in doing the classic Drum Call facilitation. I think it would have not been so well received in any case. That is what my reading of the group, my “facilitator’s Radar” told me.

One intervention that worked well wasI adding a break in the group rhythm. This created a little breathing space for squeaks and sounds. Got in a crowd-pleasing clean stop-cut on the 1 after the break. That was uplifting for everyone. (including myself). So I knew they were aware and responsive, without having been primed by Drum Call.

Used this as a window of communication, for a short welcome. Invited everyone to go get a drink of water. Restarted with an ocean drum and non-rhythm. A pulse and then a rhythm slowly developed.

The group got back into full swing. Sculpted buckets for 1…2…3… wait for the 1 count- in rhythm.
This was a spacious accent dialog that left room for sounds. It was inspiring how everybody kept on the 1 with all that space in between. (Big Gestures helped!)

Eventually all the frame drums were on the same track. A dancer (festival staff person got up to dance. Invited her to the middle. She invited me to dance along too.

After a while, it was time for a change. Did a clean stop-cut on the 1 after the space, with a little rumble wave teeter-totter as a garnish.

The Refreshing Power of Song

Someone had asked for a song. So I set up the song I learned from Alo, I-Po… O-I-Po-e… E-Agina E-Agina -O. Voice ridiculously dry and cracked. Let myself sound like the Mojave Desert to just signal “It’s OK how we sound with our voices”. Someone thankfully brought a cup of water and so I could continue…

The song went on and on for a long time. They loved it. Pulse and rhythm went up and down within the song with just very small interventions. Tried to add Gata-Gata Para Son Gata over that on one half the circle, but it was too much. Full circle returned to I-Po-E. That was really beautiful. I was happily surprised at how long a group of participants kept the song going.

The circle ended with another song, the one requested, Give Peace A Chance. We sung the basic line over many times. Then I added a sort of ceremonial element, something I saw once from the Peace Prayer Society. I called out an intention before each round of “All we are saying…” It was very sweet and, and moving. Had not intended necessarily to do such a thing, it just happened because I worked with what was given.

Biggest learning:
It was a perfect mix of easy-going and spiritual that hit the spot on such a hot day. the circle as a whole was very well received by the participants. I had to really trust that the whole thing would come together and not melt down. Big gestures are an important and time keeper, especially through longer breaks in the rhythm. I also learned how a subtle intervention can go a long way. I also saw that the participants recognized that as well.

What do you think about Drum Circles in the heat? What’s the best way to proceed? Leave a comment below and let’s exchange ideas!

Career Development Triplicity

This article on the Career Development Triplicity is the final essay of the four required for professional certification from Arthur Hull and Village Music Circles. The subject is to evaluate where I am in developing my professional Rhythm Event career.  Read more about the VMC certification process here.

The Career Development Triplicity Illuminates My Career Path as a Rhythm Event Facilitator

Serving my Community

I serve my community by making myself available. I do a variety of  events, with local festivals and schools. I look for ways the rhythm experience can be helpful to civic groups.

When people experience success in the drum circle, they carry a feeling of empowerment away with them. They feel energised and have a positive outlook. They often look as if they have dropped some kind of heavy load. This sort of social unburdening is also a service to the community.

Sharing Rhythmical Bliss

How do I share the Rhythmical Bliss? I show up when asked. I create a few events each year just for the fun of drumming together in the group. And I encourage anyone who wants to learn something about rhythm.

Rhythmical bliss also means having fun in and with the circle.  I always encourage the circle participants to loosen up. I make the space to have fun. I try to empower  individuals in the group to have fun as well. That goes a long way towards developing Trust and Rapport. Sometimes it is more about making something beautiful as well as fun together.

Making and repairing drums is part of the Career Development Triplicity, sharing rhythmical bliss

Providing beautiful drums is also a way to share Rhythmical Bliss

I am Sharing my Rhythmical Bliss every time I work on building or repairing a drum. I want each one to sound its best. I also want each drum to be a source of inspiration and delight. Working on drums is indeed an extension of Bliss! Part of that is being generous with helpful tips and suggestions.

Jaron is considering the Career Development Triplicity

Having fun is important.
It is important that they have some fun, because it relaxes the participants and removes the barriers to success. They need not be too serious, not afraid of making “mistakes”. If they are worried about things like that, they probably are not having a blissful time. They are probably nervous. That doesn’t help anyone.

Developing My Business Skills

I am making the jump this year into doing this full-time. That is a pretty big leap of faith Especially so because I feel far from ready on all levels. On some levels sure, but there are still many things that need to be done. Sometime you just have to jump. That’s where I am right now.

I am re-working my website to be a better vehicle for modern content marketing. That includes this blog. It’s already sort of responsive to mobile screens. The next version will be even better  with smart phones and tablets. This is important, because more and more business customers are viewing websites with mobile devices.

Writing articles and publishing in my blog is also part of the discipline of business skills. I am participating in various forums and taking course to really get informed about using technology to build community. This includes content marketing via channels such as podcasting and e-books.

So why are they there?

Understanding the customer is a crucial business skill. Trying to really understand my customers is my focus. What will help her or him solve a problem or find the perfect way to move something forward? That is the question I want to answer. I want the answer to be, “Book an event with me, because it’s an ideal solution!”

Understanding the participants is also very important. They always have different reasons for being in the drum circle that day. Sometimes they are not there completely voluntarily. What is the best way to reach them and develop rapport? How much challenge are they going to accept? Is challenge appropriate for this group?

Other Thoughts

I am also putting together a Drum Circle Outreach program for Ukraine and Russia. This is going to depend on community networking through social media channels.

I serve my community in different ways… Locally, I am around and help out with festivals and some charity gigs. Internationally, I make myself available to help out other DCFs and encourage them to develop their business skills.

Any feedback or encouragement from my peers and colleagues is very welcome. Drop in a comment below, and Thanks!

Make a Memorable Conference

How to Make a Memorable Conference

Plan it right. Make it a conference they will not forget. So how do you make a memorable conference? Make it dynamic and fresh. Don’t waste time being stiff and boring. Do something that brings them right where you want them to be: Present in the Moment.

Time is Precious.

Time together at a conference is even more precious. Make it count. Nobody has resources to squander. Especially not their time. You need your participants to feel relaxed, alert, and inspired.

That is the best mental state to absorb information and take initiative.
Get off to the right start with an energetic Icebreaker that welcomes the people, loosens the atmosphere, and invites conversation, networking, and socialising.

A Double-Shot of Espresso!

Make a memorable conference with Rhythmuskreise

Adding a Rhythm Element to your conference is like giving everyone a double shot of espresso!

Rhythm Events are Energising.

Ever felt a conference slump at some point? Well, do something about that! An energiser is just what you need, and a drum circle is absolutely perfect for that! A well placed 20 minute energiser will yield valuable hours of increased attention and enthusiasm.

Get them moving.

You didn’t plan this conference as a vacation. You have an agenda. You want some action, and you want to see results. A drum circle session or rhythm workshop will stimulate both the thoughts and emotions that induce action. They will be inspired. They will have a fun and memorable experience that serves as a reminder of why they are there, and what they need to do going forward.

Inspired. We plan it that way together.
We will be working closely together to make sure you reach your goals. We will start early in the planning cycle. We’ll go over your goals and the details about the location. Little things, like location of  elevators, lighting, and acoustics. You need the conference elements to fit together seamlessly. The people need to be united in vision and inspired to action.

Put away the powerpoint and drop me a line. Say goodbye to the same old power point talk and panel discussion.

End on a High Note

Don’t let the energy simply drain away until everyone can’t wait to leave. Make it a happy ending! Wouldn’t rather have a climactic end session, where everyone leaves with a smile? You want them to leave inspired and motivated. You want them to take home a positive and memorable impression. You want them to be talking about all they accomplished, and what a good time they had.

Booking a Rhythm Event for a conference climax is a great way to leave a great lasting impression. That is something that will make them look forward to the next time!

Drop me a line. We can start planning how we will make a memorable conference together.


Intuitive Skills Triplicity

This article on incorporating the Intuitive Skills Triplicity into my work is adapted from a short essay. The essay is one of the requirements for professional certification from Arthur Hull and Village Music Circles. There are other essays which are posted on this blog. Read more about the VMC certification process here.

Using the Intuitive Skills Triplicity

Think of the moment when the novice monk receives his first challenging responsibility.
It’s a step up to the next level.

The Intuitive Skills Triplicity is an essential step to the second level of development for the Drum Circle Facilitator. Understanding the Intuitive Skills Triplicity is what separates the  from the masterly facilitator from the mechanical. Without the intuitive skills, there is only a machine with no mind. Drum Circle Facilitation is like the unity of Body-Mind-Spirit.The Intuitive Skills Triplicity represents the function of Mind.

A Drum Circle is above all else a Human activity. It is essential to have the people skills. There is no point in starting without those! The Intuitive Skills Triplicity is, to me, the very basis of human social communication. If any of those legs of are missing or are too rigid, there can be no viable structure. Without a wholehearted embrace of these three principals, there is no point in starting.

The Circle has started. Now what happens if…?

Adaptability, Awareness and Rapport: The Intuitive Skills Triplicity

Guide the energy to where it naturally wants to go.

If I ever get stuck or confused, or sense a “hole” somewhere, I look around. I take a look at who is there and what state they are in. That is one form of Awareness. I make contact and develop an amicable, two-way exchange. That builds Rapport. I will come to understand where to go next, even if & when it is way off what I thought I would or want to do. I’m open to that kind of Adaptability.

These are my three friends.

They are my Good Angels whispering in my ear as I take the drum circle on its journey. (The bad angels are Ego, Fear, and Indifference.)

Awareness is how we keep our footing and make contact with the participants. Awareness is Radar + Intent
Awareness is what should keep our egos in the proper place. Awareness helps ego stay out of the way.

Adaptability is key for any human interaction. It is also what keeps us on an even keel during a rhythm event. Adaptability is what allows us to change course before we shipwreck on the reef. Adaptability is the skill that lets us pull a successful event out of pending failure.

It’s important to be adaptable with many aspects of the Drum Circle. Adaptability includes the program, the schedule, participants, the space to be utilized, and the purpose. All of these can change at short notice. It is simple proper professionalism to be able to adapt to such surprises!

Rapport is where we connect. Rapport is where we hear the participants.
Rapport cements the bonding that takes place naturally in the Drum Circle.
Rapport is trusting that the circle participants want us to succeed.
Rapport is a mixture of challenge and aptitude.
Rapport is what gets us re-hired.

Facilitating a Drum Circle without developing Rapport is like bringing pork chops to a vegan picnic. Brother, you got it all wrong here!

Keep the Skills Honed

The Intuitive Skills Triplicity helps me improve and maintain my DCF skills by serving as roadmap and companion. I think that if this area of development is strong and well exercised, the client will be forgiving no matter what happens. Stuff can and does happen. By cultivating a healthy set of Intuitive Skills Triplicity, we buy ourselves a lot of forgiveness when things go “funny” and unplanned. And that is vital for getting call-backs.

Understanding the Intuitive Skills Triplicity, and employing it liberally, is the difference between “Brilliant!” and “What the heck is he doing?”

What do you think about Awareness, Adaptability and Rapport? Leave a comment below!