by Julie Alexander
Community Health Advocate

DAVIDSON NC: The sound and pulse of drumming could be heard and felt on the Village Green last Friday afternoon. If curiosity had carried you toward it, you would have found a small circle of happy drummers. Some participants knew each other and some had just met. All of them were out enjoying a lovely spring day and the joy of making music together.



Karen Dortschy participates in the drumming circle. No musical experience is necessary to join.

A Circle of Connection

One of the circle participants was Ananda Underwood, a Lake Norman resident who joined in with her two sons, Dylan and Nicholas. “There is something so powerful about drumming”, said Underwood, “It feels so good to connect without saying a word.”


“I leave the circle feeling uplifted and happy.”
—Dylan Underwood


The gathering was organized by WellCircle, a wellness Meetup group that promotes fun, healthy, group activities in the Lake Norman area. Drum circles are included because they are easy, accessible, and have some impressive health benefits.  


Drumming Is Universal

Drum circles are an ancient tradition that are becoming increasingly popular in our modern world. People in every culture around the world have been enjoying rhythm and the experience of drumming together for thousands of years. It’s easy to imagine why drumming is so common and so contagious. Rhythm, after all, is one of our earliest life experiences—listening to the comforting beat of our mother’s hearts.

Aside from being a fun, intergenerational activity, it turns out that there are some powerful physical and emotional benefits from creating rhythm together.


Drumming has health benefits

  • Strengthens immune system – a study from Pennsylvania found that drumming activates white blood cells called natural killer cells. These cells target viruses and cancer cells.
  • Increases pain threshold – a study from the University of Oxford found that drumming stimulates the release of endorphins. These natural painkillers are also the substances known for creating a “runner’s high.”
  • Reduces inflammation – Research from England found that drumming positively impacts hormones and other substances that influence inflammation.
  • Improves mental health – This same study found that drumming had a positive impact on anxiety, depression, and emotional well-being.


Co-Leader John Hurst with participant Robert Klein in the background.

Participation not performance

While all the research is interesting, perhaps it is enough to know that drumming is a great way to make new friends! Joining a drum circle is easy. You don’t need to be experienced and you don’t even need to have an instrument. Just be willing to jump in and give it a try.

If you’d like to learn more about drumming in the Lake Norman area, check out the WellCircle Meet-up group, or the Lake Norman Upbeats group on Facebook. We’d love to see you in the circle!



Next Drumming Circle — April 4th

Our next drumming circle is Thursday, April 4th from 6pm to 7:30pm in the area behind the Oak Street Mill. Please bring your own chairs if you would like to attend.


Julie Alexander is a longtime nurse and community health advocate living in Cornelius. As a wellness expert, she helps individuals and groups who want to improve resilience, performance, and well-being by helping them make smart, sustainable investments in their self-care.