Drum Circle Etiquette

Keeping the Unity in Community Drumming

Drum circles are much more than a group of drummers and dancers piled into a circle. There is a power and magic generated by the participants making music and dancing together. Dancers, drummers, talkers, singers, flutists, digeridooers, and more… The diversity of drum circles mimic our larger community. Many of the same rules of life can be applied directly to the circle.

For Central Florida Drum events join our Central Florida Drum Circle Meetup

Shortlist of Etiquette inspired by Arthur Hull:

written by the late Eric Stuer of Rhythm Web

1. As in music, so in life… as in life, so in music…
2. Universal principles transcend cultural boundaries
3. In case of a problem, refer to rules 1 and 2. Keep it stupidly simple

Each circle may have slightly different norms or guidelines that help it reach the group goals. Thankfully, there are universal guidelines that can be used at all circles and adapted from there.

Universal Guidelines

1. Remove rings, watches, or jewelry to prevent injury and instrument damage
2. Watch & Listen for the musical pulse and ride with the group; Experiment and play within this space
3. Be mindful that your body positioning can open or close the circle and its energy to others
4. Feel free to ask and be asked about what is expected at the circle
5. Ask before playing another person’s instrument
6. “Let there be space”: Allow for room within the music for group communication and opportunities to solo
7. Smoke outside the circle to keep the space free and inviting to all
8. The community disappears when one drum/group takes over

The POWER of a drum circle of unified people is simply amazing. The sounds, the exchange of energy, and feelings of joy are often harnessed to meet group goals. This results in a variety of drum circles. Getting confusing? Here is a quick list of types of circles:

Type of Circle Common Goals
Open Community Promote positive social bonds in community; “Everybody Drum”
Facilitated Team building, celebration, social/motor skills, varied skill levels
Religious Gathering Church community nights, Pagan festivals, etc
Cultural Specific West African, Caribbean, Native American rhythms
Thunder Circle Rainbow gatherings, no specific guidelines/focus, “Everybody Jam!”
Health & Wellness Smaller groups. Controlling breathe, stabilizing heart rate, meditative
Meditative Often playing slow (or very fast) rhythms while controlling breathing

Contact Giving World Percussion
(407) 374-3786(DRUM)