OCTOBER  2013  -  Scroll down and enjoy!
News from the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild

In this issue:

  • Stories Worth Telling by Greg Whitt
  • 2014 Conference - (plus a call for session proposals)
  • VMC East Coast Week-long Training!
  • Forging a New World... by Stephanie Kusmer
  • Natural Modeling... by Jonathan Murray
  • PASIC in November by John Fitzgerald
  • Professional Development Sharing

Stories worth TellingGreg Whitt

by Greg Whitt
Drum For Change
DCFG President

Just last month, for the fourth year in a row, I led a week-long rhythm residency at Oak Grove Elementary.  I've become their third grade artist-in-residence.  Yet when I first stumbled into drumming, I never imagined calling myself a teaching artist.  It's been a mantle I've had to don slowly.  Eric Booth, in his book The Music Teaching Artists Bible, says an artistic experience has "the capacity to expand the sense of the way the world is or might be", and that's precisely what we do when we facilitate drum circles.  We aren't just talking about rhythm;  people are actually experiencing what it's like to BE in rhythm, to allow rhythm to come alive through them, to connect with 'life in rhythm' in a real rather than philosophical way.  

I don't know exactly what to call these people sitting in our drum circles -- students?  patrons?  facilitatees? -- but in any regard, when we enter into that rhythmic relationship of trust and collaboration, we're given a great opportunity in those brief windows of communication to talk about how life could be, how life can be;  to paint a picture of harmony and connection and sharing rarely savored in Western society.  Of course it's a process-driven program where we move through a continuum to educate, excite, empower, and enhance, and along the way we're planting seeds and telling stories that just might awaken someone to these simple-yet-profound concepts that support what I believe to be a richer life.

In his blog at, Scott Donaton says these stories spread even when marketing budgets run slim.  He says people want to play a part;  they want to be advocates for the brands they buy and and the things they do.   When we include them in experiences that inspire them, they'll tell that story on our behalf if we can turn these customers into evangelists.  Donaton says you must "live the stories that you tell.  A brand narrative should serve the same role as the product it promotes....  Your brand has a personality and a point of view that goes beyond bragging about how great you are, and your audience knows when you strike a false note.  Be transparent and true to your story."

In other words, they know when we are sincere, when we're walking the walk as well as talking the talk.  Their radars go off when we suggest living a wellness-based lifestyle that we don't ourselves embrace.  So for the sake of our clients, if not for our own sakes, engage in self-care and walk in rhythm, dear friends!  The world is looking for leadership-by-example and we are supremely positioned to presence that from our orchestration point in the circle.  Tell the stories worth telling and live a life worth sharing.  Through us, others find an inner rhythm in harmony with one another and with the world around us.  I, for one, find that to be a very good use of me in the world.

In rhythm, and in service,
Greg Whitt

Right after Arthur's week-long training...(see below)
Join us Friday - Sunday February 21-23, 2014
at Ocean Creek Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA


It's time again to plan to gather as a community to drum, learn, educate, and inspire!  We're headed back to South Carolina for great presentations, learning experiences, open sharing, and as always amazing drum circle facilitators.
The 9th Annual Drum Circle Facilitators Conference is for anyone and everyone who incorporates rhythm and/or drumming into their work; including settings such as:

*  Schools/Education                                      *  Non-profits
*  Well elderly/seniors                                     *  Health/wellness
*  Community events                                      *  Corporate
*  Workplace training                                      *  Social services
The Drum Circle Facilitator’s (DCF) Conference will feature a variety of workshops and presentations on a wide range of DCF topics.  There will be an array of activities ranging from formal presentations, open sharing, jump time for facilitation practice, and of course plenty of time to simply drum together.  Conference sessions are designed for participants who have a working knowledge and experience with basic DCF principles and techniques.  This isn't a training, but rather think of it as professional sharing:  members of our industry volunteering their time and talents to bring you the latest and greatest innovations in the field.  

The DCF Conference is organized by volunteer members of the DCF community and is sponsored by the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild (DCFG).
The fee to attend is $350, with a 10% discount for DCFG members (includes meals Friday night thru Sunday lunch).  Lodging is an additional fee and booked directly thru Ocean Creek Resort. 
We are currently looking for individuals that would like to share their expertise and experiences as DCFs to serve as session leaders.  This year, we will be emphasizing how we as facilitators take action with our DCF principles, methods, and business considerations, to make them truly our own, rooted in the theme of “Collaboration, Connection, Community, Commitment”.

Given our theme, we are looking for sessions that truly take the community beyond “Show us what you do”, that push the envelope of our learning, and that help us grow and develop in new ways as DCFs.  We're interested in workshop session proposals covering the following general subject areas:
  • DCF Business Development (building market presence, client base, equipment & logistics, start-up funding, etc.
  • Program Design & Activities for Specific Populations (children, special needs, workplace training, health & wellness, etc.)
  • DCF Techniques and Strategies (activities, games, resources)
  • DCF Mastery (personal presence, intention, self-development, inter-disciplinary resources, peer feedback, etc.)
  • Other (you name it!)
If you are interested in proposing a session, please download and complete the Session Proposal form from the DCFG website
The deadline for session proposal forms is January 3, 2014.

6-day Training w/ Arthur in Myrtle Beach!

For the first time in many years there will be a full week-long facilitator training on the East coast! 

AND there will also be a Facilitators challenge course too.
February 16-21, 2014 these trainings will take place at Myrtle Beach, SC.  The cost is $800 plus lodging.  Meals are provided.  This is a beautiful venue, right on the beach and even though it is February we have always been able to spend time on the beach with little more than a light jacket.  The weekend following this training is the annual DCFG conference which starts at 4pm on the 21st and ends Sunday night.  If you attend both, Arthur has agreed to give a 10% discount on his training and DCFG has agreed to give a 10% discount on the conference.  So mark your calendar now for this amazing week of drum circle magic!
Village Music Circles ™ Week-Long Intensive Drum Circle Facilitation Training provides beginning and advanced Facilitators the skills needed to lead Rhythm-Based events for groups of all sizes and backgrounds. This week-long experience will immediately connect facilitators to a supportive community while providing extensive opportunities to learn and develop facilitation skills in a safe environment. Participants of all levels will receive peer and advanced Facilitator support. This week goes beyond the weekend training with the presentation of more techniques, developing style, increasing depth, and extensive practical experience.

Program Content
During this week-long intensive VMC provides 50 hours of learning activities. Participants receive extensive practice in the facilitation techniques needed to lead a drum circle or rhythm event for a variety of populations and group sizes.
The program format will include group instruction and discussions combined with small group break-out exercises that reinforce the learning of the foundational facilitation elements presented. Exercises are taught sequentially so as to become progressively more complex as the facilitators’ skills develop throughout the week.
Participants experience multiple small group activities using movement, voice, musical instruments, and improvisational rhythm games.
The Facilitators' Challenge
is designed for VMC graduates who are actively using VMC's technologies in their programs. Facilitators will be challenged and tasked with a variety of experiences designed to enhance and further deepen their skills. Rhythm facilitator participants will be asked to facilitate different parts of the event and be critiqued as part of their learning process. During the course of the Level 1 program, advanced facilitator trainees will be tasked to demonstrate specific techniques and lead small group exercises.
Networking with peer facilitators in this program will offer opportunities to learn new program techniques, strategies, as well as business development skills.

This is a chance to challenge yourself, practice new skills and be lovingly mentored and "tormentored" by Arthur!
To register for the training go to:
Conference registration will be live soon at

Forging a New World with an Ancient InstrumentStephanie Kusmer

By Stephanie K. Kusmer
Earth Rhythms Healing
DCFG Member

I know that one thing we all have in common is that we love the drum and that we want to help others experience the fun, excitement, power and communicative qualities that drumming together has to offer. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instrument, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

Why is the drum so powerful and why does it move us to want to share it? Here is my perspective. I believe the drum circle is a micro representation of the macrocosm. We come together with our different backgrounds and world views and we open ourselves to the rhythm. The sound frequencies and the energy raising abilities that are presented when everyone is immersed in rhythm together offers some powerful potential for healing the group mind and for helping us come together in cooperation and peace.

Anthropologist Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, did pioneering work in the 1960’s and 70’s in studying the effects of drumming. In his studies he concludes that “the beat of the drum, as used to transport native people into shamanic states of consciousness, closely approximates the base resonant frequency of the Earth, which can be measured scientifically.” This brings me to the notion that when we all drum together we connect ourselves to the energy of the planet and to our connection with nature. This gives us opportunity to use this energy raising vehicle to come together with a purpose.

As we play this ancient instrument that has been used through the ages to heal people, to help tribes see into the future and to bring people together to celebrate rights of passage we have the ability to utilize our drum circles to help make our world a better place to live.

As facilitators, the first question we have to ask ourselves when we enter the drum circle space is what is our mental, emotional and physical state? Maybe we’re doing a circle in an environment that we feel uncomfortable in or that the conditions are not quite what we expected. Since most of us facilitate in so many different types of situations this idea is something to consider. Once we are in touch with our state of  being before the drum circle comes together it is then that we have an opportunity to set an intention for the drum session that is about to begin.

My personal preparation and practice is to walk around, acknowledge and feel the space where the event is to be held. What is the space normally used for and who are the people that will be attending? Once I have done that I meditate on clearing my mind from my everyday concerns and I focus on my breath while stating in the space that the energy that we will raise here today is to be used for the highest good of the participants that will be involved. With this intention set and clearly stated in my mind I am able to share this intention while facilitating the circle.

As we “intentionally” share rhythm with others, we come to realize that our state of mind does affect the group and that when we come to the circle with positive intentions towards peace, love, healing and acceptance that we can raise the energy through the rhythm towards these goals. This ultimately helps us spread cooperation, peace and harmony amongst the participants of our circles and it ripples out into the communities that we live in. We are leaders of change through rhythm and our vehicle is our drum. I’m grateful to be one of these leaders and appreciate and thank you all for your efforts in helping to make peaceful change in our world. Drum On!

Stephanie Kusmer

Natural Modeling -
Non-Linear Mathematical Concepts in the Drum Circle Business

By Jonathan Murray
FunDrum Rhythm Circles
DCFG Founder and Advisory Board MemberJonathan Murray

I believe that part of my mission as a DCF is to reunite people with an ancient experience; to unplug from modern technology and reconnect with a piece of our human-ness; reminding us of our place within the natural world.  As DCFs, the tools we use harken back to the very earliest days of our species and are still largely constructed form materials taken right out of nature.  Reflecting nature, or natural concepts within in our business has a congruence that attunes us to natural order.

One principal of the natural world that excites me is that of self-similarity.  This term comes to us from the mathematics of non-linear geometry.  “In mathematics, a self-similar object is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself (i.e. the whole has the same shape as one or more of the parts). Many objects in the real world, such as coastlines, are statistically self-similar: parts of them show the same statistical properties at many scales.  Self-similarity is a typical property of fractals.”[1]

In the natural world, plants often exhibit self-similarity.  Look at a tree outside.  Notice that if you were to cut off one of its branches, the branch you removed would look very much like the tree from which it came.  If you were to then remove a smaller branch from the larger one, notice that it too resembles the larger branch, which resembles the original tree.  Pulling a twig off the smaller branch, we see that it too resembles the larger branches and the tree.  Fern plants show exceptional self-similarity in the organization of the frondlets to the fronds to the whole plant.

Now let’s have a look at our drum circle world: starting with our tools.  Our instruments are the foundation of our business; shaping the programs we are able to offer, as well as the types, and numbers of people we can serve.  Our drum circle kits are models of diversity (or should be) that offer a wide variety of sounds, shapes, colors and textures through which we are able to offer a wide variety of experiences to our clients.  Ideally the diversity of our kits shouldn’t be just a random collection of world percussion instruments, but incorporate an element of strategy to the specific selection of individual instrument types.  Dare I say a ‘natural selection’ of appropriate instruments that have evolved over time to best suit the needs of specific programming or individual clientele.  (Darwin and DCFing?!?!)  Our kits will typically have both drums and hand percussion (membranes and idiophones), with a selection of idiophonic tambour (shakers, bells, woods) and drum pitches (low, medium, high).  We all will have varying degrees of numbers of each particular type of instrument, but, in general, we can typically count on this type of breakdown because it has been shown to create the best drum circle music.  Diversity, managed strategically.    

If we use the strategic diversity of our kit as a base line, we can use its representative model to examine different aspects of our business and look for self-similarity.  Consider our client bases.  Do they reflect that same diversity?  Are you serving a variety of ages, social status, gender, professions, etc.?  Can you  shape your company’s future outreach to specifically target a wider variety of populations.  Programmatically, do you have a variety of targeted programs to offer, or just one, or two.  Can you expand your program cache to include an assortment of offerings that would serve a variety of populations.  Marketing and outreach are important to sustaining a successful business.  How does your outreach reflect the diversity of your tools?  Are you strategically utilizing a variety of advertising vectors (website, printed material, social networking, etc.) to optimize your outreach to targeted clientele?  There are so many ways now to get the word out about you and what you do.  Look for self-similarity in the various aspects of your business.

Just as there is value and strategy to having a diverse kit, there is value in modeling that diversity throughout your business.  Diversity in nature ensures that there is a safety net to the biological matrix (of which we are a part) in case of distress or calamity.  So too will diversity in our client base help to weather our businesses through times of economic fluctuation by not making us solely dependent upon one type of clientele.  Diversity in our programs offerings can help to increase our marketability, attracting a wider customer base - thus strengthening our safety net.  Exploring a variety of vectors to market the variety of programs you have will allow you to better find and attract your clientele.

Recognizing that we and what we do are not separate from the natural world, but in fact an integral part of it, aligns us and our businesses with the natural order.  Following examples of self-similar modeling from within the natural world can offer us a powerful tool to help shape our businesses.

[1] Wikipedia contributors. "Self-similarity." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Jonathan Murray

Invitation to PASIC '13jJohn Fitzgerald

by John Fitzgerald
Manager, Recreational Music Activities, Remo Inc.
Chairman, PASIC Interactive Drumming Committee

Greetings DCFG Family!
I am currently the chairperson of the Interactive Drumming Committee (IDC) at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) and I wanted to let you know about this year's very cool presenters and presentations.
PASIC attendees (about 5,000 of them!) come from all over the world of percussion (rock and roll drummers to symphonic percussionists), and from all levels of experience (virtuosos to elementary school students) and there are sessions on everything from South Indian Mrdangam to electronic percussion. And there’s an amazing exhibit hall full of instrument makers large and small.
So what is the IDC up to? Here are the basics:
What and Who:
2 late night DCs (John Yost, Kerry “Shakerman” Greene)
2 late night Rhythm Lounges (un-facilitated small percussion, low volume improve sessions)
2 sessions presentations (John Scalici, Kalani)
1 panel discussion (Syed Ibrahim, Vicky Gunawan) - we need more panelists - see below
MANY Flash Jams (think FLASHMOB with members of the IDC committee)
1 closing DC (members of the IDC committee)
1 Sunday half-day DCF training (John Scalici)
Where and When?
Indianapolis, Indiana, November 13-17
Who Else?
Other DCF attendees I know of:
Phyllis Mueller, Tanice Foltz, Matt Savage, Chet Doboe, Dave Wonsey, and I expect many more.

Amazing sessions, concerts, DCs and a great community. You can read a more detailed description of all the IDC offerings HERE.

The IDC is looking for panel members to join Vicky, Syed and John Scalici in discussion and Q&A. If you will be at PASIC and have experience in this area, please do contact me.
I hope to see you there!
John Fitzgerald

click on the logo to get to the PASIC site:

pasic indianapolis



DCFG logo
Copyright © 2013 Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp