Teaching at Paralounge in Live Oak, Florida, this last weekend, gave me more insight into how and why the drumming therapies are working for people. I have the opportunity to do two separate events: the first one is a large drum group where I teach the groove, tell stories about the history of the groove, move people from a place of want into a place of power. The second group is about the healing drum, and that really gets the energy going in a high vibrational way. The people were lit up with inspiration and came up to me afterwards to discuss their insights. I am very excited about this process and how it affects the world.
The groove is a palpable thing; it is an energy flow that we do not have meters to measure, other than our hearts. I give a lot when I drum and talk, but I get a lot in return. I do not see other drum teachers doing this the same way as I am. There are now schools where people can become trained in the mass of drumming groups. There are procedures for organizing the group of drummers, and ways to have fun with learning different drumming parts and playing them together. All of this is wonderful and empowering to a certain degree.
I am being pulled into a more esoteric region of groove therapy where people are shedding old behaviors, even illnesses and moving into a specifically created new reality. The grooves are very sparse but swing really good. There aren’t a lot of notes because the tone of the downbeat needs to be felt without the distraction of a lot of high pitched show biz style notes. It is all good and fine- I like to cut loose to and wail, but there is also the more subtle way of quiet groove riding that is akin to sitting on a board in the peaceful water with all the waves around you and feeling the single attachment to mother ocean where we feel part of the wave. It reduces the amount of ego involvement and increases the feedback from the universe itself. Our personal operating systems become defused of anxiety in receiving the momentous flow of life force that the group generates. This is less about organized drumming and more about connecting to our own sacred drummer within our selves that plays for the groove and doesn’t need to shred so many notes. Then each little syncopated lick has a sweetness and power instead of just filling space.
I use some tricks, of course; slowing tempo is something that drum instructors still don’t understand. If and when I meet a drum teacher who knows how to slow a group down while keeping the groove alive will be a kindred soul to me. The effect of reducing tempo while maintaining the feel is subtle and magical. Advanced musicians don’t even feel comfortable going there, let alone beginning drum teachers. The fear of slowing down is inherent in our culture.
I have other tricks too, I’ve been trained as a drummer my whole life, since the age of eight, and I’ve been doing the drumming healing touring for over twenty years. So I know from experience what works. I also know what I prefer to do and what I have a strength for, as well as what I do not enjoy doing; i.e. competing. Competing kills healing many times and the drummers don’t realize that they are competing. Women are great drummers because they don’t compete. They support the groove and the community. Many men get this approach also, but they are still subject to being tested by other men.
Drumming in our culture is in its infancy. We are still discovering our sacred grooves. Usage is the key. When the groove is working for a specific reason, then that is worth remembering.
I had one erstwhile soul this last weekend at Paralounge tell me that he too wanted to be a drum shaman using the techniques that I was employing. A woman therapist said she had investigated other healing arts modalities working with children but this process was the closest to what she had been looking for. The tools I use are versatile, yet simple and universal.
I am pleased to say that it seems like I will continue performing and teaching this particular drumming technique. I had my doubts and challenges over the last few years about what I should be doing, but when I witness the light in people’s eyes I cannot ignore this blessing. I seem to be channeling a positive force in the universe that is more effective than just drumming. I see other people also channeling this force in their own modalities. I have been reserving the esoteric teaching for my Helmtone drum protocols workshops because I did not what these powerful tools to be used by irresponsible drummers. Now, I see there are so many wanting this type of healing that I am rescheduling my life to accommodate the many requests for healing meditation drumming using the Helmtone method based on the downbeat. The name is the funny part. I wanted a name so odd that no one would want to steal it. (I’ve had publishing names stolen in the past,i.e. Asylum music) So I use the name Helmtone to designate a specific style of drumming healing protocols that has evolved in my work through my whole life of drumming. This is not a vain attempt at self-promotion. It is a mark of demarcation to distinguish this process from other drumming styles that claim to be healing, ( i.e. Remo and others) They no doubt do assist in healing but there is something missing in their approach also. It might be the merchant mentality that interferes, or the ego, or that there is vocabulary missing from their work. I only wish to differentiate myself from the herd so that people know what they are getting. I have seen it work time and time again. To avoid the traps of the ego, I constantly have to maintain a sense of invisibleness. That is a paradox for most drummers. They have invested ego in their identity as a musician. This drumming techniques do not work too well when ego demands attention. The flow of divine healing is impeded when the ego is not left out of the equations. These rhythmic equations are specific and time tested. They have certain conditions, they free up certain blockages and they empower in unique ways. This is an evolving process that is a part of our emerging culture. It is teachable and it is also a shaman tool. It conjures reality and it changes reality. It heals and it enlightens. I am grateful to be doing this.