‘Drumming is for everyone with a heartbeat’: Hand-drumming session Tuesday


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, Feb. 12, at noon.

“Drumming is speaking so strongly to my soul, that I have to just roll with it,” blogged Dayle Huffman, creator and facilitator for an organization that hosts workshops and classes in Ohio. “It is very meditative, and I feel so peaceful and energized after a drum session, as I ride the waves of joy, breathing in life. I am beginning to recognize that it is so spiritually satisfying, that it does not need to make any sense on a rational level.”

A retired nurse, Huffman said she is interested in the neuroscience benefits of hand-drumming for memory and brain function improvement.

“I have worked in home care assistance and occupational health,” she said. “Both my lifelong nursing career and my own personal life experiences help me see so many applications for well-being and healing via drumming. As one of my members aptly put it, ‘Drumming makes me happy.’”

She blogged about experiences she had last year: “While in Pagosa we played in the beautiful mountains, enjoying downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and narrow gauge railroad riding. It was spectacular, and the plans to retire and spend our winters there is solidifying after going there for five winters in a row. I attended a drum circle all three Tuesdays that I was there this year. Participants were all local residents, but that didn’t stop them from making me feel very welcome. It varied a lot from week to week, which in itself was a valuable learning experience.”

Huffman’s son, Seth Phillips, who is a musician in the Denver area, and his daughters, Abbie and Rachel, were with her for one of the classes she attended in Pagosa. “All four of us had a delightful time. The girls, who are very musically inclined, observed after we left that we had just completed a three generational drumming experience.”

“At my current stage of life, I’ve been searching for what my path might be,” she said in my interview with her last year. “I’ve been thinking about drum circles, learning to drum myself and, in turn, using those skills to help people. What I’ve been struggling with in my hometown back in Ohio is finding someone who can help me learn the skills needed to facilitate a drum circle. Now, here I am on vacation in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and, lo and behold, I find exactly what I needed to convince me that’s what I need to take back home. I absolutely love Paul’s facilitation skills: so creative and responsive to the group, and everyone feels a part of the whole. It was indeed serendipitous that I happened to see his hand-drumming article in The SUN while I was in Pagosa.”

Fast-forward to midwinter 2019: Huffman is again vacationing in Pagosa, and her son and granddaughters have joined her again at the hand-drumming class. Since last year, she has made great strides studying with several professional drum circle facilitators and establishing successful, free-of-charge, drum circle programs that are receiving an enthusiastic response.

“I have always sensed that I was a percussionist, but never dared to venture into that earlier in life,” she said. “My visit last year to Pagosa was the springboard for doing it. I sincerely look forward to bringing some new ideas back to our group. Drumming is for everyone with a heartbeat, and the learning is never-ending. I can’t stay away from my drums. I learn a new technique that surprises me, and I am hooked even more. What fun I am having learning so much about myself in such a positive way!”

An opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity, the drumming class is a family-friendly activity. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. For more information, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.