Australia Playshop – JULY 2017

Hello My Friends,

Almost every program that I have done in Australia begins with something like this:

“I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land in which we meet upon today.

We celebrate and embrace traditions and cultures past, present and future.” (The original caretakers of the Wollongong Australia area were, and still are, the Oharawal people.)

Flying from the warm sweaty monsoon rain weather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia into a western Australian winter was quite a climate shock. I would say it is more “crispy” than cold here, but the heaters were on in the cars driving around Sydney, rather than the air conditioners turned on in the Kuala Lumpur cars.

Another week, and another Playshop has gone by, as I wake up in a new bed in a new country. And, not unusual for me, I did not know where I was. That lasted a few seconds until I heard the cry of the Laughing Jack Ass, usually identified as a Kookaburra bird. It’s unique, and almost human-like laugh call can only be heard in one place on the planet = Oz. You can hear it played a lot on traditional didgeridoo songs.

I have been doing one or two Playshops every year for 10 years in Australia. That is all thanks to Bek Wermut, and Simon Faulkner, who between them have organized our Playshops in different places all around this vast continent. We have done many programs in Perth and Sydney, but we have also done programs in cities all over Australia, north to south, east to west, such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Darwin. I even did a program in Alice Springs, not too far away from Ayers Rock in the center of the Australian outback.

This year our Australia Playshop was held in Wollongong, which is an hours drive south of Sydney.

I have been to Wollongong before to do a corporate drum circle with the steel workers at the plant in Port Kembla, just south of here. You can find that story in one of my books.

This was Simon’s co-facilitated Playshop program in preparation for the big TTT training in Scotland this fall. As expected, Simon did great as the lead facilitator. I have attended both his DRUMBEAT and Rhythm 2 Recovery programs and have been impressed with ability to train and deliver clearly.

When I arrived, Simon handed me a printed copy of the Playshop protocol that he planned to run. Even though the map is not the territory, Simon’s Playshop map worked very well. And just like in any drum circle that you facilitate using a plan, there were slight variations and adjustments that needed to be made in Simon’s Playshop map. The overall result of the training is that we delivered all the elements listed in the Tools, Techniques, and Concepts triplicity, in a way that left everyone satisfied and inspired.

I invited all the TTTers that I’ve trained to attend the other TTT Playshops in their regions, so Tomtom came down from Japan and participated as a Challenge person, but she took notes as a Training-The-Trainer participant.

The Remo distributor, Bradly Willats, of Australian Music Supply, sent us a variety of REMO drums to use. He also gave us a REMO Djembe to give away to a participant at a raffle towards the end of the Playshop.

Our usual closing family-friendly drum circle was held in the same Community Center as the Playshop. It was called,“Flourish Australia New Outlook.” The local organizers created a drum circle Facebook page for the event, and all the local participants called in friends and family, so we filled the center with a great community drum music celebration.

I will see Simon, Song, TomTom, Vasundhara, Roberto, and John Hagedorn at the European Train-The-Trainers program in Scotland in the fall for their final training. But in the meantime, on the Asian half of this 13-country tour, we all have taught 550 people how to facilitate drum circles.

That number of trainees put Village Music Circles over the 12,000 mark of people trained in drum circle facilitation since I started this journey.

It’s time to go home, hug my wife, clean the warehouse, and rest up for the Hawaii Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop.


Life is a dance