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Intended Audience

All members including people living with cancer, family members and significant caregivers.

Program Description

Wellspring’s Drumming program involves a gathering of participants who are guided by a skilled program leader to sit in a circle and play drums and other percussion instruments. This program is a longtime favourite of many members, and is highly encouraged for anyone seeking a grounding experience as well as a dynamic expression of emotion and a release of tension. No musical experience is required, and all instruments are supplied.  

“From what can be experienced through the drum is the power of rhythm that exists within us. The drum and its rhythms unlock some of the most positive qualities we have as human beings – the need to connect with others, the expression of our creative selves, the exhilaration of joy and play and the capacity to heal. The natural drum is an accessible tool available to all of us. May you become the drummer that you already are.”

– Robert Lawrence Friedman, The Healing Power of the Drum

What to Expect at a Session

During the first half of this 1.5 hour program, members enjoy a ritual called a ‘community drum circle,’ that invites everyone to participate in hands-on drumming with drums and other instruments, including bells, shakers, wood, chimes, and kalimbas. Next, after a short break, participant are invited to take part in a ‘rhythm cradle,’ where some participants rest in a comfortable chair while the rest of the group surrounds them and creates a mediative soundscape of improvised music that is designed to be calming, comforting and uplifting.  

Some experience the ‘rhythm cradle’ as profoundly serene and deeply moving, bringing about a sense of peace and tranquility, and helping them to feel less isolated and more connected to others. 

Benefits and Impact

Recent studies suggest that music can play a significant role in the lives of people living with cancer. Music therapy has been shown to improve health-related outcomes such as quality of life, anxiety, pain, symptom distress, and fatigue (Bradt et al., 2017; Köhler et al., 2021. One study from 2017 found that even simply listening to music may reduce the incidence of pain, anxiety, and drowsiness (Bilgiç & Acaroğlu, 2017). A report from 2019 on a drumming-based therapy highlighted the importance of drumming as a positive and confidence-boosting emotional outlet for cancer survivors (Harmon & Arpajian, 2019). This program invites the kids of adult participants as it has been found that family-oriented support programs like this one can be effective at reducing isolation and normalizing the experience of children who have parents living with cancer (Ellis et al., 2017). 

Program Frequency

2 hours per week

6 weeks per program

1 program per session
Fall, Winter

Optimum Class Size: 20


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