Tips For Virtual Drum Circle Facilitation

While the Covid 19 pandemic has created significant challenges, it has also opened new opportunities for engagement through online activities. Although person to person activities offer unique and rich experiences, online activities have their own advantages; ease of access, engaging whole families, and diverse communities from all over the country and the world from the comfort of their homes. 

This is a useful list of best practices with wonderful contributions from Christine Stevens , a Remo Endorser, Music Therapist, drum circle facilitator, and founder of Upbeat Drum Circles
Tips for Virtual Rhythm/Drum Circle Facilitation

  • Online preparation - be camera-ready, sound check well in advance 
  • Advanced audio settings – Adjust preferences in the Audio/Advanced window (the complete suggested settings are listed below) and use Original Sound setting.
  • Slow down - the virtual space has inherent internet sound delays (latency).
  • Mute everyone but you - because of the latency issues it is not possible to play in sync. However, you can provide a rhythmic ground by either playing or using a backing track, and invite participants to feel into their own rhythm and you can do a variety of rhythm games. Here are just a few:
    • Stop and Go
    • Call and Response
    • Sculpting (selecting a subgroup) - ex. Everyone with glasses, keep on playing!
  • Soundscape - Unmute everyone invite them to use brushing sounds, ambient percussion, bells, gongs, flutes in a non-rhythmic way to create an evocative sound environment.
  • Use vocal percussion – because Zoom is a voice platform, vocal sounds are clean and can be more easily synchronized. Use long tones and staying away from rhythmic parts will.
  • Pass the pulse - Spotlight one person and have them play eight bars, then bow and pass when done. This works well in small groups, or when setting the order beforehand. Also wonderful in breakout groups. 
  • Use Spotlight video as a sculpting tool. Spotlight an individual who will then be featured on screen. Ask them to unmute if they are playing a consistent part and invite all others to follow and respond. Also an opportunity to hear about the instrument that they have chosen to play. 
  • Gallery Jam – invite all to watch each other while playing and interact. Encourage movement and invite participants to be inspired by other movers in the group.
  • Unmute All - Rumble waves; facilitate the chaos! Volume up volume down. 
  • Ending - take a screenshot and have everyone wave. Hold Space by a waiting until everyone leaves the room


Best Practices for Zoom Audio [I EMAILED THE SITE WITH THE VIDEO ON THIS SUBJECT BUT HAVE NOT HEARD BACK. SHALL WE USE IT AND ASSUME THAT THEY WILL BE PLEASED?]

We strongly suggest you use headphones/earbuds and when in the Zoom meeting, adjust your audio settings. Here's what you need to do:

When you enter the Zoom Room, adjust the audio settings for the best possible experience. Here’s how

Go to the MICROPHONE icon on the bottom left and select audio settings.

If you have an external mic or headset select that in the audio settings as well.

Un-click or turn off the “Automatically adjust microphone volume” and set the volume about 80% on the dial. (If you don't have an external microphone just ignore this tip.)

Click on ADVANCED in the lower right hand corner.

Disable “Suppress Persistent Background Noise”
Disable “Suppress intermittent Background Noise”.

Select the Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound”..

Close the Audio window, and when you are back in the Zoom meeting, click on “Enable Original Sound” in the upper left hand corner of the full Zoom window.

 

 

 

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