Drum Circle Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Drumming is known to be therapeutic. Your students will learn what drum circles are and how they are used as they read a text lesson, demonstrate drum circles, and take a quiz to test their knowledge.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define drum circle
  • explain the different rhythms used in a drum circle
  • demonstrate a drum circle


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text



  • Begin the lesson by telling your students that instruments are used for more than just having fun and performing for others. There are times when instruments are used to communicate and for therapy.
  • Let your students know that they are going to learn about drum circles and how they are used as they read the What is a Drum Circle? - Meaning & Rhythms text lesson.
  • Pass the text lesson out to your students and read it together as a class by having different students each read a paragraph in the lesson.
  • Start the reading from the beginning of the lesson and stop for the first time after the 'What is a Drum Circle?' section. Then, ask and discuss the following:
    • What is a drum circle?
    • What is the other name sometimes used for a drum circle?
    • What cultures historically used drum circles?
    • What other instruments might be added to a drum circle?
    • How are drum circles therapeutic?
  • Continue the reading through the end of the paragraph on embellishing, then ask and do the following:
    • What is the heartbeat?
    • Demonstrate a heartbeat rhythm for your students.
    • What is embellishing?
    • Demonstrate embellishing for your students.
    • Have one student demonstrate a heartbeat while you demonstrate embellishing.
  • Continue reading through the end of the 'Rhythms Used in a Drum Circle' section, then ask and do the following:
    • What is the purpose of syncopation in a drum circle?
    • Demonstrate syncopation for your students.
    • What are the layers of a polyrhythm?
    • Demonstrate each layer of the polyrhythm and then select a student to play each layer that you demonstrated so that they are playing a polyrhythm.
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' to your students and answer any questions they have at this point.

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