Discovering the Power of the Frame Drum: Reflections on a Special Workshop

By Karen Renee Rob, Founder of Music City Alliance for Sound & Music Healing

The frame drum is powerful, connecting, primal and forgiving. There is something very deep and powerful that occurs when people are given permission to connect with a drum. The frame drum is an ancient drum that has been a prominent tool for ceremony, healing, celebration and connecting people since the early ages. And so it was such a pleasure to be able to bring this awareness to the Scarritt Bennett Center last Thursday evening, October 2nd. We gathered together, a circle of women, excited to be called and feeling the stress of the day. Each of us dealing with life issues, but seemingly grateful for the opportunity to be together and with the drums.


Sharing my personal story of how I came to the frame drum and how it has changed the course of my life, I could sense that others were ready for a transformation within themselves and their lives. We started by sounding into the drum, each of us holding the drum, covering our faces. A safe place. Everyone is doing it, but there is a comfort in not seeing others, just hearing our own personal voices. There is initially a timid approach to connecting with the drum in this way. We are a society of people, especially women who have been disconnected with the power of our voices. Told to be seen and not heard. Told that we shouldn’t sing. To not express in an angry or loud manner at the risk of being labeled a “bitch”. Ultimately and sadly coming to believe that our voices are not important.


Our next adventure was to learn about the power of sound through what I call “sound vibration massage”. Using the drum and a soft mallet, drumming over the body the sound travels into and through people in a surprising way. It is a gentle, heartbeat rhythm with good intentions that feels comforting, relaxing and really helps reduce anxiety. I shared the technique for everyone using a volunteer from the group. Closing her eyes, breathing deeply and taking in the sound vibrations you could see and sense the calm that was created. When I was finished, she went back to her seat in the circle and said that she kept hearing “this is the work” inside her being. Yes! This is the work. Reconnecting with the power of sound vibration and our authentic voices is paramount to living and expressing the totality of who we are. I was thrilled when she shared this with the group.


Emotion was also stirred up during our time together. A deep compassionate space was held as different participants allowed the experience to resonant in them in ways they did not expect. Tears, laughter, joy, connection, understanding. What a blessing it is to be able to awaken ourselves and be present for each other.

Frame Drum Wisdom at Scarritt Bennett Center was coordinated by Suha Ahmad-Alsyoufi who is currently Assistant Director of Education, Programs, & Connections at Scarritt-Bennett Center. In her current position Suha is responsible for Diversity training for individuals and organizations, facilitator training, cultural sensitivity training, as well as other programs such as Hot Topics and World Harmony Interfaith Breakfast. As a highly skilled trainer, she couldn’t have found a better place than Scarritt-Bennett Center whose mission statement is dedicated to the eradication of racism, the empowerment of women, and spiritual formation.