Robert Damm teaches a Drum Circle class and a World Drumming class. He is Co-Chair of the Interactive Drumming Committee.

ABOUT THE CLINIC: Community Drum Circle – A Minimalist Approach

A free-form or free-style drum circle is a highly spontaneous, improvised drumming event with no rules and no single designated leader.  A facilitated drum circle is a guided drumming event led by a director whose intention is to support the group by organizing various aspects (e.g. rhythm, tempo, meter, texture, dynamics, and form) of the program.  This session will minimize the role of the facilitator to maximize the experience of participants.

ABOUT THE PANEL: Taxonomy of Interactive Drumming Experiences

Although there is a clear distinction between drum ensembles which learn a repertoire of traditional rhythms and a drum circle which plays primarily freestyle in-the-moment music, there are times when it might be valuable to share culturally-specific drumming concepts in a drum circle. Given that some proponents of traditional drum ensembles characterize drum circles as meaningless chaos and some drum circle facilitators follow long-established guidelines to “never introduce culturally-specific rhythms” it is difficult to propose exactly how to balance these disparate approaches. The panel will discuss various types of “interactive drumming.” There does not seem to be a consensus regarding the names and definitions of various categories of interactive drumming. There has even been some debate about whether these disparate modes of drumming might effectively be integrated. What would such drumming experiences be called?


Kalani is a percussionist, music therapist, educator, and personal development professional. He has released instructional books for congas, bongos, djembe, and hand percussion.

Sule Greg Wilson is a drummer, dancer, folklorist, and researcher who studied drumming under Baba Ngoma and performed with Babatunde Olatunj.  He is the author of The Drummer’s Path.  

John Yost teaches ongoing West African drum classes, Japanese Taiko classes and facilitates a monthly community drum circle. He is Co-Chair of the Interactive Drumming Committee.



Posted on

September 30, 2019