Weekly hand-drumming sessions spur healing exercises

By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, July 9, at noon.
For the past 20 months, the drumming class has offered an engaging pathway for making music. It’s heartwarming to hear from those who have drawn inspiration from their experience and have taken it back to their communities to organize new drumming circles. It’s an occurrence that seems to be happening with increased frequency.
LaDelle Daly is interested in the power of drumming as a tool for wellness. She and her daughters attended our drumming classes last summer. Now they’re back in town for another visit and have attended the last three sessions.
“I live in Florida,” said Daly. “A year ago, I was visiting my daughter in Pagosa Springs when I read an article in the newspaper about a hand-drumming class. I said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to go to this.’ I went twice — I knew nothing about playing the drum, but I was excited about it.”
After returning to her home, she got a drum and eagerly embarked on a study of hand drumming while she was healing from a knee injury.
“When I went to church, I said, ‘I’m learning to play this drum and it is very healing.’ I asked, ‘Would any of you like to join me?’ So far, I have six ladies who bought their own drums. We meet once a week and we do a healing drum program, in which I incorporate some meditation exercises.
“It’s based on four strokes on the drum: earth — played by hitting the center of the drum; water — played by wiggling your fingers to make a water sound; fire — played on the edge of the drum, to make a tinkly sound; air — a sound that’s made by brushing the hand over the drum.
“We start with a heartbeat, then we go into different rhythms that represent walking, running, skipping and dancing. The meditation is imagining that we are walking through the forest, thinking about what connects us to the earth, thinking about what flows through us and tuning into our passion, and our connection to spirituality.
“We’ve done two performances for people who have asked us because we’re kind of different with our healing drum program.”
Daly, who is a Reiki master, sees a similarity between energy work and music therapy.
“In energy work we are sending vibrations to a person through our hands. I think music does the same thing — it sends vibrations. These vibrations of energy can help with emotional or physical problems,” she said.
Daly has worked as a preschool teacher and a hospital clown. She has four children and she has lived in many countries. At 88 years young, with interpersonal strengths endowing her with a deep capacity for giving to others, Daly has stepped into the role of healing drum circle facilitator.
The hand-drumming class is a family-friendly activity in which joy, fun and playfulness abound. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. The clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. For more information, call 731-3117.

This story was posted on July 6, 2019.