By Cameron Small
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
People love music and rhythm. We listen to music while we work, clean, cook, shop, exercise. We hum to ourselves or tap our fingers while we sit in traffic. We change the radio station in our car when we get a commercial so we can listen to music, not advertisements. We use music and songs to help children learn skills like the alphabet. Music and rhythm are large parts of our lives.
And at the Walpole Council on Aging, music is a part of the programming offered to seniors in the community.
Once a week, the Walpole Council on Aging hosts a Drum Alive exercise course. Drumming experience, musical talent, or your own drum sticks are not required -– though there is a cap on the class size, so participants are encouraged to sign up with the Council on Aging in advance.
Upon first hearing of Drum Alive, people generally tend to get the wrong idea. “They think bongos, they think drum circles. Not even close,” class instructor Kelly S says.
Drum Alive uses two types of drumming, as explained at the start of the class. “We have rhythmical drumming and then we have power drumming. Power drumming … is when you go as hard and as fast as you want to go and you beat up the ball. Rhythmical drumming, we create patterns that go along with the beat of the music.”
Hold up, a ball?
Well, yes. Actual drums are not included in the class -– instead, an exercise ball balanced in a seventeen-gallon plastic tub serves as the drum. This provides a little more stability, and keeps the balls from moving around the room as they are struck by participants.
Most of the class revolves around rhythmical drumming. Kelly goes over the movements and steps for a particular song and also provides alternatives to make the workout more rigorous or easier, depending on an individual's need. Intensity can be modified by altering one's motion (changing distance or speed) and strike location on the ball.
Throughout the class, two types of drumsticks were used. First, traditional drum sticks, and second, traditional drumsticks with the addition of a lightweight scarf tied to the stick. The scarves provide a little more weight, a little more resistance to the workout -- and a little more flair.
After Thanksgiving, the class is going to build on itself and become more of a routine than just a class doing select exercises.
To sign up for the class, contact the Walpole Council on Aging.