Some of us will never play with an orchestra or a rock band, but still we can make music -- and we don't have to limit our music-making to the shower.
"We all have rhythm, because we all have a heartbeat," said Melissa Griffin, a volunteer for The Raleigh Drum Circle.
At a recent circle, three dozen men and women sat in a circle. Someone pats out a beat. Then another person, and another. Each adds a beat to the mix. Soon a facilitator takes over, calling out instructions that meld the chaotic beats into music.
A facilitator can bring the music out of each participant and let everyone contribute to an outcome, Griffin says.
"It is a lot of fun to get people out here, especially for the first time, and let them realize that they can participate."
Giving people an opportunity to make their own music is what Greg Whitt has been aiming for since he started the circle several years ago.
"In our culture, we are conditioned to buy CDs, to go to concerts and to listen to the radio, but very rarely are people actually encouraged to make their own music," said Whitt, who is a facilitator and runs Drum for Change, a company that uses percussive music for creative self-expression.
Last month The Raleigh Drum Circle celebrated its seven-year anniversary with a concert at Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh. The event, which drew more than 50 people, showcased several percussion-based performances by guest musicians and people affiliated with the group. It included African, Middle Eastern and Native-American drumming.
The night concluded with the community drum circle. By 10 p.m. the park was almost empty, but a few dozen drummers stayed behind, rocking the nearby boathouse with their beats. "Everyone brings special skills to the group, and they put it in, and we work it out together," Griffin says. "What comes out usually is joy."