African Drumming and The Intuition: Music as a Tuning Fork


/ Photo by dizznbonn /

Music itself depends on regularly recurring cycles, on periodicity, such as the vibration of strings and reeds. Consider how the daily rotation of the earth, the monthly orbit of the moon, and their yearly orbit of the sun are also periodic. These motions make a kind of slow-moving music, too deep for our ears. But we sense the music of the spheres because it was the condition of our origin. We are made from this music.
~W.A. Mathieu, the author of The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music

After studying African drumming for several years now, I can see how we don’t tune our drum, the drum tunes us changing our cellular make-up. I dreamt my chakra system reconfigured from drumming on a regular basis. My Boulder community drum teacher explains how the three main hand patterns in African drumming – the base, the tone, and the slap — correspond to specific chakra centers. The base heals lower chakras, our sexual and survival centers; the tone clears the upper chakras opening perception; and the slap awakens the heart chakra. The African drum is like a living crystal distilling our own vibration with its sound waves.

Music and the intuition have a lot in common: The mind must open and relax for them to play, and they feel and express through a basic tribal language – energy vibration.

Listen internally for your beat.

The metronome is a rhythm device to check your beat and timing. I took a class from an African drum teacher from Mali, and he said to never use a metronome to learn the beat. He proclaimed life is the metronome, and rhythm is an internal discovery, not some obligation to an electrical box. In our technologically advanced culture, the clock is the metronome, but it teaches us artificial rhythms, and we disconnect. Our internal wiring gets crisscrossed.

In nature, light and sound are rhythm. The sun tells the time, the birds are its choir rejoicing at sunrise and resting quietly at dusk. Natural rhythms are found in the ocean tides of the Great Mother. A clock strikes a single beat, yet an ocean wave clocks a whole sweeping movement. A natural rhythm is a sweeping, continuous, interconnection of beats, oscillating through us. Can you feel the swoosh of a river embracing you reminding you to inhale and exhale, or the tapping pitter-patter of a train inspiring you to a Gene Kelly dance?

Intuition tip: Listen inside for your rhythm and timing, not to outside forces. Let nature be your surround sound.

Let go of the mind.

In order to drum a song, you’ve got to unplug from that mental zone, and let go of the mind. To play drum music, sitting deep in the hips is essential. Hula dancing and belly dancing know the sway. Drumming is an earth-based, body-centered dance where the mind is comfortable planting its feet on the ground. We usually dangle the mind mid-air, which destabilizes it. To let go of the mind and maintain awareness, anchor in close to the earth.

The intuition is instinctual, sensual, and round like the drum. The intuition trusts feeling; the intuition’s radar is the heart. The intuition seizes up with too much mental focus. Relax the mind until it settles down under.

Intuition tip: Let your mind center in your hips or lower belly. Let your body be your antennae. Then, trust.

Nirvana exists. If that’s not an oxymoron 🙂

“Welcome to the world of djembe drum” are the words to a drum song that’s played in our drum group. It’s a round, and when it gets going, the drums talk to each other. When the djembe drums sing, a whole orchestra from another dimension joins in. It’s not uncommon to hear other instruments or voices in attendance when the rhythms are in unison. This is nirvana, a trance induced state, where there are no burdens, no worries, and no deadlines to meet. Drumming erases fears and expectations.

Intuition tip: Play an instrument to tap your intuition. Music can make us free by releasing us from the chains of the mind, so we can hear the voice of the spirit.

How has music opened up your intuition?

Watch this clip from the DVD Touch The Sound, a documentary about Evelyn Glennie, a world renowned percussionist who lost her hearing at the age of 12.

“Hearing is a form of touch. You can feel as though you can literally reach out to that sound and feel that sound.”
~Evelyn Glennie

2 comments on “African Drumming and The Intuition: Music as a Tuning Fork

  1. Radha says:

    Once again this synchronicity!!
    Hi Michele and everyone out there, I woke up this morning with a brand new tune in my head. This happens to me quite often, I hear beautiful music in my sleep. I wondered about it this morning: I couldnt save this tune because I dont play any instrument Though I’m natural at singing and dancing. Sometimes I feel as if I dont let myself sing or dance because i feel I will fly away,flow away. And then I’ve logged in after months and I find this blog… Michele do help me understand this strange connection. Hope all is good with yu and your family. Love, Radha.

  2. Hi Radha,
    Hearing beautiful music in your sleep is a happy sign from the angelic realm. They communicate through music. This could also suggest that you do have musical talents, the ability to create music and choreograph dance. Explore your connection to music and dance! Thank you for your comments Radha!

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