Who hasn’t had a fantasy about being in a band? If you’ve ever seen a live performance (or even a video of a performance), you’ll agree that everyone on stage looks like they’re having the most fun ever. Though perhaps being in a popular rock band is not on the horizon for you, you can still reap the many benefits of playing music with your friends.
Playing music in a group can foster feelings of community and synchronicity. It can be a means of artistic and emotional expression. It can be a fun and fulfilling activity to engage in when hanging out. It can build skills like active listening, mood recognition, co-ordination, rhythm, and improvisation. Music therapy (individual and group) has been shown to help improve mood disorders. Perhaps most of all, it’s tons of fun!
One need not be a virtuoso in order to participate. Owning an instrument isn’t even a necessity. Percussive surfaces or home-made percussion instruments make fine fodder for a drum circle. For many people, the idea of participating in a drum circle is viewed as being somewhat ‘hokey-pokey.’ Others may lack confidence in their ability to improvise or keep a beat. But the nice thing about drum circles is that each person only needs to be doing something very simple in order for a multi-layered rhythmic pattern to emerge. It can be fun to witness the beat morph and change as each individual makes small changes to their playing. It’s fun to see how one’s individual part makes such a difference in the whole.
If you play an instrument but are nervous about playing with your friends, remember – the best way to learn is to pair with others who are more skilled than you. You can preface your jam session by letting your friends know that you are just learning. It’s likely that they’ll have fun no matter what. It’s fine to ‘mess up’, just remember to keep going and that the most important thing is to have fun.
Make a shaker out of rice and tupperware, pick up a $15 dollar ukelele at your local music shop, or bust out your favourite instrument, and get music-making!