Drumming out stress

Samuel Northrup, Online Social Media Editor


The Health and Wellness Center organized a drumming circle lead by Kelly Yacco and Teresa Dunn in the Strebel Student Center from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 21.

Using djembe drums, which have a goblet shape and are played only by using the hands, Yacco and Dunn, both music teachers with the House of the Good Shepherd youth organization, wanted to give students at Utica College the opportunity to experience the benefits they feel come with interacting with these instruments.

“This [drumming] allows you to express yourself,” Dunn said. “It allows you to express your emotions through a rhythm pattern. It allows you to relate with others, non-verbally, and still talk to each other through rhythm. It also allows you to be aware of whose around you, to be part of something bigger than just yourself.”

Student Employment/Wellness Coordinator at UC, Caren Summers, had the idea to organize the drum circle as an event after taking part in a similar activity at a wellness program.

“The drumming resonates through your body, and you sort of become one with the drum,” said Summers of her first experience with a drum circle. “You get into a rhythm, and your body, it sort of transcends any kind of stress level that you have, any kind of problems that you’re thinking of. It sort of takes you out of it.”

The drum circle was set up in the lounge area of the Strebel Student Center so that students going to or leaving the dining hall could stop and participate.

Junior Ji’da Lymon stayed until the end of the drum session and emphasized the effect drumming has on frustration.

“Banging on the drums helps get frustration out, so if somebody was mad they could just pound the drums [and relieve their frustration] in a musical way,” Lymon said.

Junior Breanna Straker also mentioned the effect drumming has on frustration and anger.

“If you’re angry, it’s almost like getting a rhythm [and control] of your anger,” Straker explained.

Yacco, a drum instructor, has been around drums since he was kid, and emphasized the closeness one feels when playing an instrument.

“There’s a closeness between you and the instrument, which they say is a cliché, like ‘you and the drum become one,’” Yacco said. “But you do though, really. If you enjoyed yourself and made something happen, then that’s what happened.”

Dunn echoed the connection between drum and player as well.

“There’s something unique when your hand contacts the skin of a drum, and I think it’s that contact that really inspires you to bring out whatever sort of feeling you have through rhythm,” Dunn said.