Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Music News

Bang On

Chilliwack Academy of Music drum circle Sept 6

Released by Graham Yates, CAM

Anya McRae (blue dress) in drum circle with California students. Below, Anya McRae in front of a wall of djembes. These beautiful African drums are the heart of drum circles.


here there is a heartbeat, there is rhythm. That’s the motto of the Academy of Music’s new Drum Circle facilitator, Anya McRae. McRae and the Academy are gearing up to create a community drum circle in Chilliwack this fall.


Drum circles offers hope for those who believe they have no musical bone in their body – everyone can bang on a drum, and with time, players develop musical sensitivity and dexterity. But both novices and professional musicians can be drawn to join drum circles because of the social element.


People of all backgrounds, ages, interests and abilities get together to make music and develop friendships. McRae – a great promoter of drum circle’s community value – explains, “You’re drawn closer to people when you share the same activity together.” Participants are delighted when they realize they can communicate with each other non-verbally through music. It proves that music is a language that everyone understands deep down.

Beyond the musical and social aspects, drums circles are known for their therapeutic value. But McRae does not like to use the word “therapy” in this context because it implies a problem.


Drum circles are for everyone, no matter their circumstances, so she prefers to speak of improving overall “well-being.” The mutually supportive, group rhythm-making sessions improve participants’ lives through physical exercise, mental focus, and by being an expressive outlet.

The Academy’s Drum Circle will begin on Friday, September 6, at 5 p.m. at the Cultural Centre. Sessions will be held the first and third Friday of each month until June.


The drop-in fee is $5 per session, and participants can prepay for 6 sessions by purchasing a punch card available onsite. Instruments are provided, and include not only drums but also shakers, keyboard percussion, whistles, bells, etc.


Experienced drum-circlers often develop a bond with their own instruments, so participants are welcome to bring these along, too. McRae emphasizes that there is no prior skill needed to participate: “It takes only minutes rather than years to learn percussion techniques. After that, you’re just refining what you know.”

For more information about Drum Circle and other group programs, contact the Academy office via e-mail here or call 604-792-0790.

For general information, visit


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