What is a Drum Circle Facilitator?
By Christine Stevens & Arthur Hull
“The facilitator’s role is to orchestrate a mixed group of people into a fully functioning and exciting improvisational percussion ensemble.”
The term "facilitation" literally means "to make easy." A facilitator's main job is demonstrating rhythmic-EASE and empowering a group of people to experience the benefits of being in community and making music.
It's like the Wizard of Oz. People travel to the drum circle expecting that the facilitator can magically bestow them with rhythm and talent. What they don't always know or believe is that the rhythm is already within them. The group sometimes needs to believe there is a wizard in order to believe in themselves. They then begin their journey into the land of rhythmic expression. The facilitator’s job is to sense when leadership is needed and when to back off and get out of the way. The ultimate goal is to have the circle facilitate itself.
In today’s postmodern world, it’s no surprise that an entire profession is emerging of people facilitating drum circles for multiple purposes. These people come from very different backgrounds, such as business, massage, social work, music therapy, music education, musicians, computer programmers, and more. Most facilitators are either self-taught or they have attended a facilitation training workshop.
The facilitator understands the role of service and the non-performance aspect of the drum circle. They are not there to show off their personal playing talents. They are there to support the group's experience creating an improvised song.
The facilitator has a unique combination of skills:
• Good musical sense and rhythmical playing ability.
• Good sense of group building skills.
• Good spiritual and personal development.
Successful facilitators utilize these skills in achieving the dual-purpose of the drum circle: developing the music and developing the sense of community.