How to Perform Call and Response in Drum Circles

Drum circles are a lot of fun and great ways for musicians and non musicians alike to share a music making experience.

What is Call and Response?

In a drum circle you often have a facilitator who keeps the music going and moving forward. The “Call” is a rhythm played by the facilitator and the “Response” is the rest of the drum circle repeating the rhythm back. This is a fun way to make a drum circle sound like an organized piece of drumming music.

  • The facilitator appoints a strong player or group of players in the group to lay down the foundation rhythm. This is a simple repetitive rhythm that never stops.
  • The facilitator listens to the foundation rhythm and plays a simple rhythm on top of the that rhythm and then gestures to the drum circle at large to repeat the rhythm back.
  • Then the facilitator plays another rhythm and asks the circle to play it back and so on until the facilitator brings the music to a stop.

In this video, you get to play along. Grab a drum and have some fun while you watch!

Thing to Remember When You’re a Part of a Drum Circle

  1. Listen
  2. Listen
  3. Listen
  4. Don’t play too loud. You’ll hurt your hands and you won’t be able to listen
  5. Don’t worry about making a mistake. A well run Drum Circle is a place where you can express yourself without worrying about sounding like you are playing Carnegie Hall

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