Explore fun, creativity and connection at Tuesday hand-drumming class


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, Dec. 19, at noon.

The class offers a welcoming environment that encourages fun, creativity, playfulness and connecting with others. Hand drums are provided for those who don’t have one. Even participants who have no experience playing a musical instrument can immediately get into the groove. Besides hand drumming, the class includes body percussion and songs of indigenous peoples.

“The beauty of Paul’s drumming class is that it is all-inclusive and children and parents alike learn side by side. It is through play, not being perfect, that we can interact with our children with curiosity and have fun. Not only is this opportunity wonderful to watch, parents playing with their children and children playing with other adults, it is also very rare to find.” — Christa Laos.

Perhaps we can hire a troupe of drumming macaque monkeys to demonstrate their rhythmic prowess to the drumming class. Other primates make drumming sounds by beating their chests or clapping their hands, but when it comes to rhythmic drumming on objects like a hollow log, chimps are the champs. Researchers are of the opinion that monkey drumming is a show of social dominance and that the rhythms they create are processed in their brains in a similar way to vocalizations, which suggests there is an evolutionary origin to drumming as part of social communication. Another hypothesis suggests monkeys are party animals and that all drumming is just monkey business.

Meanwhile, human primates are bringing a fascinating assortment of percussion instruments, including doumbeks, djembes, cajónes, wooden tongue drums, metal tongue drums, clay pot drums and talking drums.

Ron Lumsden is bringing his metal tongue drum and participants are enjoying the opportunity to try it out. Made from a 20-gallon propane tank, it has tongue-shaped cuts similar to those of a wooden African tongue drum. It has metal tongues that are tuned to different pitches. The shell of the tank acts as the resonating chamber for the sound vibrations created when the tongues are tapped with fingers or mallets. It has a pleasing bell-like sound. Because of the beautiful way it is shaped and finished, one would never guess the metal tongue drum was made out of a propane tank.

For more information about the hand-drumming class, email banjocrazy@centurytel.net or call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.