Special Needs Music WorkshopsEvery special needs music workshop is a unique experience and there is no off-the-shelf method. Here are some general observations and 2 evaluation reports.
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Drumming workshops at Co-Action Bantry, facilitated by Thomas Wiegandt
Drumming group process and progress.
Drumming is a musical team effort. Individuals, including those in marginal situations, can be often very much focused on their own actions and quite unaware of what is going on for others in a group. In a drumming circle everybody can hear the degree of co-operation by listening to the music produced. It will either sound together and structured or chaotic and disconnected. The participants are listening out for a rhythmic structure or a group groove that is created by them. They recognize the groove with excitement when it comes about and enjoy being united through rhythm in a group.
During the drumming session the participants develop the ability to relate and interact with each other in a playful way. The natural and spontaneous musicality is also uncovered which is inside of each human being and which is a primal expression of joy and happiness, often being shut down by upbringing and education. Children are often conditioned from early age to be quiet and not to utter any sounds or to act musically outside a set conventional musical frame work(Why do you always sing out of tune?, Stop drumming on the table, Dont make these silly noises, etc.)
Drumming today is therapeutically used as a means of self expression to empower people to play music and use their voices in a complex and free way as well as to encourage appropriate spontaneous musical actions within a group situation. Each individual in a drumming group acts in an expressive way as a part of the community and contributes what they have to offer according to their individual ability and skill.
Progress in a group is determined by each individuals ability to open up, relate, and interact in the group as well as getting in touch with the own musicality as a fundamental form of personal self-expression. The concrete progress in any group will always depend on the team effort, the individual participation, and the appropriate interaction of the group members. This again will depend on the individuals momentary state, condition and form.
Drumming as a team effort works mainly on a feeling level which makes it an ideal tool to work with people of all ages, backgrounds, and conditions. People learn drumming in a playful hands-on way and progress fast without being intellectually aware or stressed about the process of learning on a personal, social and musical level. Through drumming people relax and move on at all levels. This progress and developement deepens the more often people play together in a drum circle as they get more comfortable and familiar with the situation. Having a safe space to express personal emotions in a group through drumming in a playful and non-violent way is an empowering group experience and simply a lot of fun, which is essential for any personal developement.
Drumming workshops for Rehab at Bantry, facilitated by Thomas Wiegandt
Rehab Care in Bantry, summer 2003: Experience and projection