This summer we had a really special drumming workshop with the charity Cruse Bereavement Care. Thanks to Prince Harry, who recently talked about the emotional impact of his mother’s tragic death when he was a boy, there has been a lot of recent media coverage on bereavement and people’s ways of dealing with their loss. It therefore seems topical to talk about this event and the charity Cruse.
Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance society's care of bereaved people. Their services are provided by a network of volunteers who provide face-to-face, telephone, email and website support. They also provide training and consultancy for external organizations and for those who may encounter bereaved people in the course of their work.
The participants of the drumming workshop were all volunteers from the charity, many of whom had themselves experienced the loss of someone close to them. Cruse wanted to use the drum circle to help volunteers connect with each other and so build a sense of strength and community in the group.
The therapeutic benefits of drumming for people’s mental health and well-being has been well documented, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is now being used as a powerful remedy for overcoming grief. Grief is an extremely frightening emotion for many people. It can be so overwhelming that very often the mind’s coping strategy is to bury the emotion in order to function with the daily routines of life. However, without properly managing the grieving process, people’s mental health can be severely affected. Drumming provides a safe way for people to process their emotions in grief. Feeling and hearing the powerful drumming rhythms creates an amazing sense of release, while the sense of social empathy in group drumming allows people to combat the deep sense of isolation often felt with the loss of a loved one.
It was a great experience working with volunteers at Cruse. Although many of the participants seemed shy and reticent at first, they soon realised that group drumming is wonderfully inclusive. There is a strong sense of group support and ‘safety in numbers’ in a big drumming workshop, which means that even if someone has absolutely no musical experience, they can participate without any fear of embarrassment or pressure to play to a certain standard. By the end of the session, we introduced a beautiful Brazilian song called ‘Emorio’ – it was truly uplifting to hear the whole group singing in chorus accompanied by the beats of the drums!
We would like to thank Cruse Bereavement for inviting us to work with their fabulous volunteers and hope we can work again with their organization in the future.
Find out more about our drumming workshops and how they can provide a fantastic way to bring communities and organizations together.