GETCA 2024 – Improv Drum Circles

GETCA 2024 – Improv Drum Circles: Connect

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Session Notes: GETCA Session

Connect: Internal Pulse


For many young people the freedom to create and the ability to play a percussion instrument provides enough motivation to connect to improv. For others, they play because they are told to, with minimal effort, or they don’t play at all. For some to connect, they will need a pulse that extends beyond the music.


The Internal Pulse 


An improvised circle needs a common pulse; a central organizing point. It allows players to connect their music, creativity and energy. The song can be played a million different ways but it’s the collective connection to the pulse that allows the players to move as one. 


Like the music, your program needs a pulse for you and your students to connect to. The internal pulse is an amalgamation of the stories, beliefs and people that brought you here, and keeps your feet moving forward one beat at a time. The internal pulse is the scaffolding for your improv drum circle program. It is the foundation of your articulated vision that informs your games, activities, processes and presence. 


Building the Internal pulse:

  1. Think of a story that excites you every time you recall it. Could be a student’s success, a great performance, a beautiful letter from a student ect.
  2. Think of one person that brought you here; could be a past teacher, parent, mentor, friend, hero, fellow music teacher ect.


The musical pulse connects the rhythms, creativity and energy. The internal pulse connects the hearts and minds of your students. For some groups and students the underlying pulse of the music on which everything is created is your presence. Like the constant intervals and renewing opportunity provided by the musical pulse, showing up everyday with a strong internal pulse is what’s needed for them to engage with the music; when they’re ready.