Drumming As A Meditative Medium, By Steve Benedetto
When you think of meditation, you think of things like yoga, practicing breathing exercises or being in a peaceful environment like a church, or alone in nature. The last thing you’d come up with is drumming to gain a sense of calmness. After all the old saying "if thy neighbor done you wrong, give each of his children a drum" was created for a reason. But many don’t know that drumming is actually one of the oldest forms of active mediation known to man.
Yes, you read that right, drumming can be super meditative. And for good reason. Despite the fact that this type of meditation involves loud noise when many usually prefer complete silence during sessions, drumming is a fantastic way to meditate. Basically, meditation (silent or otherwise) and drumming are two activities that allow the person to really get out of their heads, allowing them to silence all the chaos and noise so that they can put the focus in their hearts. That is where the magic happens... and that is where it the music is.
In meditation, a lot of attention is placed on one’s breath, while with drumming, the focus is on the spaces of rhythm within the beats. It’s an active meditation that becomes a mantra and the drummer is free to let their focus be brought back to the pulse.
Mantra based drumming is also really enjoyable and puts the musician in a great state. It can be used as a means of creative expression or simply a release of energy built up. In the mantra type, you would pick one rhythm and repeat it over and over until it becomes effortless and 'plays itself'. Some musicians refer to this as the groove or the pocket. You don't even need a drum per say. If you sing the same rhythm or tap on your leg, see if you can repeat 100 times without deviating from the original rhythm. If your mind ends up wandering, bring it back to the rhythm and begin again.
When you meditate, you let go of your mind and completely surrender to any thoughts to allow space for silence. And when you drum, you shouldn't be thinking either. All of your focus is locked on the beat....the rhythm. They both clear the mind of thoughts, worries and anxiety so that one can find a beneficial release.
Drumming, like meditation, requires the person to focus on the steps needed to erase the mind of anything so to focus on the hand movements and the right beats. So both are about remembering instead of learning since your mind needs to re-remember how to fully relax.
And like one uses meditation to get in touch with their inner self or to connect to their own spirituality, drumming can do the same. With the beat, drummers are transported to a spiritual realm that involves just them and the music. They’re connected to the drum on a totally different level, allowing them to relax and reconnect with their inner self.
If you’d like to use drumming as your personal meditation, you should definitely create a special place in your home where you can be comfortable. This should be your designated “drumming” space. Make it a room with inspirational art and symbols of wellness. Check out our online store with many recommended wellness products for this purpose.
As you’re starting to drum a rhythm, try to take deep breaths in and out so that your drumming matches your breathing before you start to pick up the pace. When you’re meditative drumming, start with a simple pulse, beat or rhythm and then work your way to something faster – all while letting the thoughts of the day and the stress of life fall away with each press on the drum you take. Don’t have a set time, just continue to drum until you feel content.