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Drumming with Senior Drummers

There were 40 older Ladies and a smattering of Gents and we were drumming, singing and chanting all within the confines of a care home on a Friday afternoon. It was an inspiring picture and one I truly love taking part in and facilitating. I normally start with shakers and small hand bells together with gentle rhythms, rhymes, stretches and humour all to the sound of a gentle bass drum. A slow acclimatisation to playing together, rhythm and my voice. Then the transition to drums. Each person gets their own drum be it Djembe, Tubano or Bahia Bass Drum with a mallet or if they choose their hands. Then the fun really starts and we start to roll. Introducing gentle rhythms we start to play together and we start to weave in and out of various songs, chants and silliness. The silliness really settles people into the groove, with the realisation that there are no wrong notes and its all about laughing, participation, drumming and having fun. We speed up, we slow down, we move between ladies and gents, staff and guests and drums. We chant gleefully and sing African songs all new stuff for the guests of this care home. Those with dementia join in where they can with lots of encouragement or sit and soak up the rhythms.  Some times we visit the old music hall and sing songs from that era or old favourites from school or the war. We laugh and although I encourage participation the main word is gentleness. People being gentle with their hands, mallets and themsleves. Before you know it an hour has passed. We have all worked together to create a session where companionship, participation and fun come first. We make music with the emphasis on exploration, experimentation and always with respect and in case you did not notice gentleness.

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