Drumming Café— A café featuring a drum circle
Name of Cafe contains activities for a large or small group of people with dementia or Alzheimer's at a memory cafe, in an instutional setting, or at home with a small or large family consisting of people of all ages.
Gale Lyman, RN, BSN, HNB-BC. Well-being expert, writer, drum circle leader, and workshop leader.
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We usually incorporate a themed snack whenever it is possible or if it applies.
We had our regular spread which consists of:
- Coffee, tea and water
- Crackers, cheese, fruit, pastry
- Consider the time of your café, and any safety and dietary restrictions that may apply to your particular group.
This month we had drum music to use with the drum circle. There is music available with the drum book.
All participants were handed drums and mallets.
Coffee, snacks and socializing. During this time mix cd’s of old favorites used in our “Music Speaks” program played in the background.
Then, all participants were handed drums and mallets.
Drum Circle. Guests were invited to find a seat in the circle. The drums varied in shape and size. Gale matched drums appropriately to the participants and described the different parts of the drum to the group. She then went into a simple rhythm with a call and response type instruction. As the group practiced on, Gale introduced new techniques with slow and simple instruction. All participants were engaged, and Gale helped reduce anxiety by telling participants that it is also okay if they lose the beat or go off on their own creative expression.
She did some further exploration of the drums by changing the speed and intensity at which we played them. The group seemed to really like playing the drums as quickly as they could. The mallets we used had large soft tips to control sound and decrease potential for injury.
Gale explained to caregivers how one could make their own drum and mallet out of house-hold items. We drummed for about 45 minutes, but it is important to gauge the interest and energy of your group and stop whenever it seems that the group is ready to break.
After drumming we reconvened at our tables. Guests spent the remainder of the café socializing and refreshing their drinks and snacks. Our tables are always covered in brown craft paper and colored pencils are found in cups on the table. Guests are encouraged to draw or doodle on the table if they would like to.
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