Richard Reiter in Senegal, with master drummer Sidy Sankhare
Can all the members of a large group communicate with each other simultaneously and have a great time doing it? According to Richard Reiter, that's the purpose of the "Spiritual Drumming" workshops he leads with both adults and children.
Reiter, a nationally recognized jazz musician (saxophone, flute, clarinet), studied African drumming with master drummer Sidy Sankhare in Dakar, Senegal. However, Reiter emphasizes that this workshop does not focus on complicated drumming patterns and that it is not necessary to have had any musical training. Participants explore drumming and percussion in an atmosphere of fun, openness and spirituality.
Reiter observes "When communicating with words, only one person speaks at a time. But when drumming, everyone can communicate at the same time by listening carefully and responding sensitively. This can generate a joyous feeling of unity and power."
The New York Times recognizes Richard Reiter
as one of the area's busiest drum circle facilitators.
Download article as .pdf
For twenty years Reiter led a workshop for adults and mature teenagers every month at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. This event was sponsored by Outpost in the Burbs, which is a nonprofit, interfaith, adult community outreach program of the church.
In addition to adults, children
and families love this activity. Reiter has guided this workshop
at Glen Ridge Upper Elementary School and The Montclair Kimberley
Academy, and for families at First Night South Orange/Maplewood.
At his workshops, Reiter provides
many African and Latin American drums, but participants are also
encouraged to bring something percussive: drums, shakers, rattles,
etc., as well as any household objects that make intriguing sounds
(metal boxes, pots, ashtrays...).
Spiritual Drumming can help people
learn about themselves, experience a closeness with their fellow
drummers, become more in touch with both the tactile and spiritual
worlds, and feel more exuberant about being powerfully alive.