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  • Writer's pictureMalar Villi

Drum in leadership

Here's a cool guy I met four years ago, John Hagedorn, who introduced me to the world of music, the world that heals without the intellectual need to understand or process. Grok healing. The sound of drums gets into one's heart and transforms into a trance of joy. The joy then is heightened as the various percussions join to accompany to make one's music, yet fit in as one. Miraculous.

And there , comes an opportunity to be in the circle of music, where being is. It's a pleasure that awakens the sense within, as the heart courageously listens for the music amidst the noise that get transformed to a personal music encounter. The various beats work perfectly for the individuals and gets renewed energy as it groups in the circle.

The way it is meant to be. Oh, how we have complicated our lives, our world. I have missed the circle, much.

The circle empowers the facilitator to consult the inner being on the right time to get into the circle, feel the groove, use one's being, making choices intuitively,persuading the group into keen attention that leads to collaboration. The groove of being together while retaining the self.

And this time, I had the privilege to feel this magic again with the 3 DCM (Drum Circle Musketeers). I experienced magical moments that helped me reflect on leadership.

Warm Leadership is welcoming

Sara Lew, the President of Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA), the warm host, greeted us and made everyone feel like the most important person in the room.She ensured that she welcomed and thanked everyone there for being there. She continued with her expression of gratitude how these drum circles created a great experience for the members who look forward to these sessions.

She quoted Arthur Hull:

"Tithing is the way I give back to the community that has given so much to me over the years.... Where ever I go in the world, I look for the opportunity to facilitate a free event that has a population in it that needs the experience, doesn't know what a gift a drum circle event could be for them, Or they do know, but can't afford to hire a facilitator to bring drums and give them a DC experience."

Inspire with Purpose and Priorities

Arthur Hull started Drum Circle Facilitation in 1980 and travelled around to share this gift with the world. Here's the leader, who decides on his Malaysian visit, after a few workshops that he will lead by example and spent the morning with us, inspiring us by showing us how to get the MPDA member to groove. He showed us the brilliant basics and the differentiator too. I watched him pay his tithe joyfully.

I had a brief conversation with Everett Yeoh, a young DCF (Drum Circle Facilitator) who had mentioned about taking the day off to join this drum circle. He shared with me that he didn't want to miss the chance to learn from Arthur as he recognised the complexity involved in this group. There was at least three other young individuals who were there, taking time off from work, to learn. They affirmed my belief about young people needing a purpose and role model.

Arthur Hull's presence had encouraged many hearts to be there to set their priorities for the day differently and purposefully.

Leading with Humour is Joyful

Just as I thought I was settling in, MAGIC walked into the circle through Paul John Dear. I attended Expressive Rhythm Stories with Paul two years ago, and he worked his magic once again with my seven-year-old son and daughter. They were the only children who were among the other adults in the recent workshop he ran . Paul will make you laugh with his clownish ways. I learnt not to be fooled by his simplicity. He is intense in his observation and passionate in creating a magical experience for every one of the learners. It is impossible to forget his smile that will be imprinted in your heart forever.

We knew there would be magic, yet, it was a different magical experience again. Paul used his hat to communicate, seemed effortless, to command the attention that brought so much of laughter among the members. It was an unforgettable experience when he walked out of the circle to become 'the mystic' again.

Leadership doesn't have to all serious, I recognised. The presence of joy with a leader makes awkward moments easy and builds confidence. It's magic when a leader knows it and uses it for another's benefit.

Fitting In is NOT Commitment

Sara Lew had introduced John:

'Many thanks to John J. Hagedorn, founder of MyBeat Drum Circle for arranging Arthur's visit to our centre. John has been conducting drum circles on a voluntary basis for our members since 2009 under the theme, "Rhythm Beats Parkinson's" and our members just loved every one of them!

John is the cool guy who introduced me to this beautiful world of drums and has been persistently sending me different invitations that I never accepted due to work commitments.

I found out that, John Hagedorn, books his diary for these commitments first at the beginning of the year, before his corporate plan his dates for the year.

I knew at that moment that I would not be able to turn future invitations. I just needed to reflect if I am committed to this purpose. The more familiar line that we may have heard is, "Can I confirm with you closer to the date? " Indeed a very polite way of saying I will fit this in if there is nothing else more important to me.

You get more than you give

As I watched the young volunteers jump in the circle, I welcomed a new member of the Association, who took the vacant seat beside me quietly. I introduced myself, and he reluctantly picked up a percussion and a drum much later.

We became comfortably acquainted.

At some point, he whispered and asked if I was going into the circle. I quickly shook my head and said ' Not today'. I smiled within, determined to step in the next time. The memorable day came to an end, and as I said goodbye, I went to my new friend and thanked him for playing along with me and whispered ' I will see you in the next drum circle ."

I was grateful for the new friendship . I naively believed I was reaching out to my new friend but I found courage to commit and desire to come back .

I went home feeling richer.

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