Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Kristine Haertl

Second Advisor

Brenda Frie

Third Advisor

Lisa Haverly


Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of adults who participate in community drum circles. The act of striking a vibrating membrane or drum surface to produce a sound with a group of people comprises a drum circle. Drumming has been utilized for many different reasons for a large portion of human history. A phenomenological study was conducted to examine perceived benefits of participation in a drum circle. Six participants from two different drum circles were interviewed and data was coded inductively and deductively. Interview questions gathered data related to participants’ perception of the benefits and meaning of drum circle participation, social components, and how they were initially introduced to drumming. Findings related to interview questions were used to organize deductive findings. Further data analysis revealed the following inductive themes. Participants experienced many positive physiological and emotional responses in anticipation, during, and after participation in drum circles. Participants experienced an increased connectedness to the group and the present moment. Differences were revealed in participants’ path to drum circle participation. Other differences include how the context of drumming influenced participant expectations. Despite differences, all participants were open to new learning and experiences, possessed a desire to share drumming with others, and experienced drumming as a valued and meaningful activity. The use of drumming in the context of drum circles may be useful as a therapeutic tool to promote, maintain, and restore engagement in meaningful occupations with beneficial outcomes related to physical and mental health.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.