How I became a vegan Drum Circle Facilitator

I now provide drumming workshop, drum circle and other rhythm activity event for health, community, school and business. I have been a vegan for 26 years. This is about how I got here.

Name:
Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

* I have had percussionitis since childhood * Early 1990’s started drumming properly * Learnt hand drumming and some drum kit playing * Began to see the effect that rhythm has on people * Studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming and became more interested in how people interact * In 2000 I was fortunate to attend a drum circle of over 100 people facilitated by Arthur Hull – this was the way to let people express their rhythmical spirit! * Trained with Arthur Hull * September 2002 onwards - employed by Leeds Education to run a weekly Drum Circle at Horsforth Music Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire * December 2002 formed Active Rhythmology to take the positive effects of drumming and rhythm activities further – corporate events, festivals, schools, community groups, parties, etc. * January 2003 ran the monthly Harrogate Drum Circle for over a year. * March 2003 ran the Kirkstall Community Drum Circle that met weekly in Leeds, West Yorkshire for over two years. 1,2,Let’s all play ...................................

Friday, January 13, 2006

How I became a vegan Drum Circle Facilitator

How I became a vegan Drum Circle Facilitator

Friday, January 13, 2006

Visible difference

My clients know that I am a drum circle facilitator - because they are sat there drumming in a circle with me making sure the group has fun creating rhythm! Most of them, however, have no idea that I am a vegan.
What outward signs could there be? I often get comments that I look younger than I actually am, but people would need to know my age before they realised. I am probably calmer and more peaceful than I would be if I ate meat with its cocktail of hormones - in ancient times hunters would need to be aggresive to catch their pray.

Steve Parker
www.rhythmology.biz

Visible difference

My clients know that I am a drum circle facilitator - because they are sat there drumming in a circle and with me making sure the group has fun creating rhythm! Most of them, however, have no idea that I am a vegan.

What outward signs could there be? I often get comments that I look younger than I actually am, but people would need to know my age before they realised. I am probably calmer and more peaceful than I would be if I ate meat with its cocktail of hormones - in ancient times hunters would need to be aggresive to catch their pray.

Monday, January 02, 2006

How I became a vegan Drum Circle Facilitator

When I left school after my ‘A’ levels, I already had a caring attitude and found work as a Cardiology Technician in Killingbeck Hospital. I happily went on the part time college course offered until I found that dissection of various animals was necessary to progress – so I handed in my notice.

Several jobs later, including working 12 hour shifts on the continental pattern (a mad way to mess up the biorhythms!) I realised I wanted to work outdoors with plants and got onto a Council training scheme as a gardener. It was around this time, when I was about 20 years old, that my ideas about life and sustainability began to emerge and I became vegetarian. Within two or three weeks, I realised that dairy products were part of the commercial farming and meat industry and so I stopped eating all animal products. It must have been at least another six months before someone told me I was a vegan and here I am in 2006 at nearly 48 years of age still living on plants and doing my best to incorporate my vegan values into other aspects of my life.

After training with the Council, I left and started my own business – this would have been a better idea if I had taken a course in business management first, but I struggled through and learned lots in the process. Landscaping and garden maintenance soon started to include tree surgery as my passion for trees developed. To all the cynics who said that a vegan diet would leave me weak and feeble I could say “Well, I climb trees wearing heavy chainsaw protective clothing, lugging a chainsaw and haul ropes all day – what do you do?”

I had begun report writing in the late 1980’s and by the early 1990’s after some more training, gave up the tree work contracting to concentrate on Arboricultural consultancy. I was still dealing with the trees that I loved but now I had no staff to worry about and had more time for my family.

I still earn some of my living from writing about trees – insurance claims, safety inspections, development reports etc. and have always enjoyed the interaction with the people involved with each case.

I also found more time to develop my passion for hand drumming. I had had percussionitis since I was a child but had never had the opportunity to express my rhythmical spirit properly. I went to classes to learn to play my djembe and then did three years learning to play a drum kit. Yes, I was a drummer at heart but still had to find a way to connect my rhythmical spirit with the outside world.

In the year 2000, I was fortunate to attend a drum circle at Leeds Corn Exchange facilitated by Arthur Hull. There were over a hundred people, some experienced drummers, others absolute novices and within a few minutes all were playing beautiful rhythms together. For me the experience was like a light being switched on to illuminate a new path in my life – this is what I wanted to do. Music does not have to be reserved for the elite few who have been to music college or had the luxury of too much spare time to learn how to thrash a tune out of a guitar – this was about ordinary people having fun as a community. I was going to learn how to inspire people to let go and have fun playing with rhythm in a group.

I trained with Arthur Hull and then started facilitating drum circles in Leeds, West Yorkshire. From September 2002, I have run a weekly drum circle at Horsforth Music Centre for Education Leeds. In the past I ran a weekly evening drum circle at Kirkstall in Leeds for two years and a monthly circle in Harrogate for one year. I have also formed Active Rhythmology as my business to take the positive effects of drumming further – people rhythmologised range from youth groups through schools, health authorities and colleges to corporate clients - anyone can be a drummer and have fun learning to co-operate with others in a group.

A happy, energised group of people, including some beginners, all playing improvised rhythms together is a wonderful way to build community rapport. Apart from being fun and therapeutic, I feel sure that there is an effect that spreads beyond the circle of participants to the wider community.

People often say that they were told at school that they had no musical ability, yet within a few minutes they can be joining in and making up rhythms as they go along. It is great to see the sense of liberation on their faces. Taking part in their own entertainment has a very different vibe to passively watching a band or TV.

Someone recently pointed out to me that vegetarians and vegans may be put off by the animal skin heads often used on hand drums. Well, I can reassure you all that as I am vegan, all the drums I provide for my circles have long lasting synthetic heads although people are free to bring along their own drum if they wish.

Rhythm is a universal language that allows communication between people of any origin and most health conditions. A community drum circle is open to all ages and abilities, it is good fun, provides aerobic exercise and research is beginning to discover the numerous health benefits.

If your heart is beating, you have rhythm inside and the way to nurture that rhythmical spirit is to allow it out to play with others.

If anyone wishes to know more they can contact me through my website.

Active Rhythmology website:
http://www.rhythmology.biz/