Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Tehachapi Mountain Healing Drum Circle

The first gathering of the Tehachapi Mountain Healing Drum Circle was held at the Tehachapi Natural Market on June 18 to celebrate bringing in the summer solstice.

It was created by and facilitated by Dr. Jim Pickerell, a traditional naturopath and percussionist. There were approximately 20 participants on one of the hottest days of the year. Everyone had a good time under the shade canopies and fans, in spite of the heat.

The community drum circle is an informal gathering of people who meet for the purpose of playing drums and other acoustic instruments to make music and have fun. The gatherings take place in public settings such as parks and at various other mountain locations. We may also gather at an indoor location, such as community centers, depending on weather conditions.

The drum circle centers around drums and percussion, but may include other acoustic instruments such as rattles, flutes, guitars, ukuleles and practically anything that can be used as an imaginative acoustic instrument, such as cans, buckets, pipes, bells, pots or pans. Some instruments will be available to use if you need one.

There is a brief orientation to drumming, along with some simple rhythms, and information on the healing properties of the Community Drum Circle gatherings. Spontaneous jam sessions are great fun as participants make up the music as they go, expressing themselves in any and all ways that feel right. Participation is voluntary and often breaks out in singing, chanting and dancing.

Drum therapy is an ancient tradition that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. Many therapeutic drum techniques have a rich ancient history to create and maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Group drumming helps to alleviate isolation and alienation and to meet new friends with no music or drumming experience. We empower each other in celebrating life and the community together through rhythm and music.

Drumming is a wonderful workout for your brain and can actually help in cognition. When we gather to play music and drum you access your entire brain. Research shows that the physical rhythmic energy actually relieves stress, boosts the immune system, reminding the body of its optimal vibration while helping to synchronize the left and right brain hemispheres. This all is beneficial in creating a group energy of positive, uplifting healing vibrations.

To the First Nations Peoples, the drum represents the universal heartbeat of Mother Earth. The first sound we hear is the beating of the heart and is also seen as the first sounds of creation of the world. We can all manifest this heartbeat through playing special rhythms on the drum to honor the native traditions and beliefs of the unified love consciousness we all share.

The biggest challenge one may face is overcoming the apprehension of never having been part of a drumming experience. It is all about relaxing into the rhythms and just feeling your intuition take over being in sync with the drum. It's also a spiritual thing, too; there is little need to follow format or some tradition. It's about having fun with the rhythm, doing what you feel you want to do and just having a great time.

To participate please bring your own chair, pillow, mat and any of the acoustic instruments mentioned. Come join the fun, no prior musical experience is required, all levels welcome, young and old, as we celebrate life and wellness. Prepare to be revitalized, rejuvenated and getting in the groove by the healing rhythms of the music and drumming.

The next gathering will be held at Philip Marx Central Park on Friday, July 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will go for about an hour. Please come join us for some of those good, good, good, good vibrations! No RSVP required. For further information, please contact Dr. Jim at (661) 713-6080 or [email protected].