After an intense two year journey, I put the finishing touches on my thesis, Drumming UP Health: A Case Study of Carleton University’s West African Rhythm Ensemble. It is sitting with the examiners now and I will defend on September 2. It’s been wonderful to be back in school, get caught up on exciting current research in many disciplines, and develop more writing and speaking chops. When done, I’ll have a second Master’s degree….an MA in Music and Culture. Thanks to all at Carleton University, but especially my thesis supervisor, Professor Anna Hoefnagels.
The thesis itself examines the ways in which participation in the Carleton University West African Rhythm Ensemble (WARE) contributes to positive health and well-being for the students involved. Themes of participatory musics, musicking, rhythmic entrainment and repetition are explored in relation to the experiences of the members of the group. I engaged both current and former members of WARE in surveys, audio interviews and email questionnaires. We looked at mental, social and physical health benefits, and there was certainly strong evidence of the positive effects of this kind of drumming, dancing and singing.
Really enjoyed my role as researcher with the amazing students that I have the privilege of working with…and who I will see again in a few weeks for the start of the new term.
Very powerful stuff this drumming. No surprise there.