*Note: This blog post was originally posted by Annapolis Music Therapy

On Saturday, February 8th, I attended a drum circle offered at Argo Counseling and Wellness. As a new intern, I was unsure what to expect, so I set up the drums and awaited the arrival of participants. To everyone’s surprise, the group ended up being composed entirely of women. While some arrived as friends, others walked into the room and saw no familiar faces. The women in this group were unique in beautiful ways. Crossing multiple generations, decades, and life statuses, one may wonder how a diverse group can put aside differences and work together. Honestly, there’s no way to explain how music creates this instant bond amongst complete strangers, but it does. There was a feeling of openness, honesty, acceptance and respect within the room, equally spread amongst the amazing ladies surrounding me.

When looking at drums, you can easily group them together based on their appearance. Drums with feet vs. drums without feet or any stand, drums with and without animal skin heads, drums with and without cracks or tears. Like each of the people in the room, the drums placed before us had unique histories. The warmth and love of our minds and hands made the group able to take these seemingly unrelated things – drums, strangers, and  auxiliary percussive items – and unify them in an effortless manner.

Throughout the drum circle, different women shared their life experiences and resolutions. Spanning from the coming year all the way out to the coming decade, some had measurable goals to accomplish and others simply wanted to find more peace and love within their life. Amanda, the lead music therapist during this drum circle, challenged the group members to come up with one word to summarize their resolutions. Of the range of words shared, the group improvised based on the words “Healing,” “Wisdom,” and “Relaxation.” The introduction of new instruments created unique layers and impressions for each keyword, but the silent communication amongst group members guided everyone to a different place. The unique experiences we were all feeling were due to a common sound, a shared space. Reflecting aloud on our feelings and takeaways after each small improvisation led to support and agreement from others, as well as inquiry and a desire for more knowledge.

Beginning internship meant completely flipping my life around. In a time when I felt unsure and uneasy, these women helped rein me in and remind me that I am strong, capable, and smart enough to accomplish my life (or year-long) goals. For anyone looking for an accepting, welcoming and humbling experience where you can connect with others without fear of judgment, please consider joining us for our future drum circles at Argo Counseling and Wellness. These events are free, open to all, and an opportunity to have an amazing time with great people!

-Ritchie Young, Music Therapy Intern at Annapolis Music Therapy Services