Glenn Jackson says the drum therapy groups he runs around the Waikato “from primary schools to Henry Bennett” are making a significant difference in people’s lives, particularly those with disabilities.
But it was in a workplace setting in Te Awamutu last week where the benefits of playing a talking drum became obvious to the participants who started the session mutely and finished with great enthusiasm.
Glenn, who lives in Te Awamutu but works around the Waikato region, including at 35 schools, was at Enrich+ for the disability organisation’s annual health and wellness day.
Enrich+ staff work alongside individuals to develop their skills and abilities and enhance inclusion in their communities.
General manager David Ireland said the day was critical for his staff to take time out to look after themselves so they can provide quality meaningful and unique support programmes for people of all ages and all disabilities.
Glenn’s Mad Cow Drums programme, using the Kano Learning System he designed, was one of several activities aimed at easing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
Participants sat around a drumming circle and Glenn opened with why drumming was one of the oldest and most effective ways of communicating.
Villages on either side of valleys use drums to communicate, they were used in jungles and on ships, he said.
“Whatever I can say, you can play,” Glenn said illustrating that by coming up with a drum beat to his own name which the group copied.
Glenn sat in front of his first drum kit when he was 5 years old and was captured by it. But he did not learn how to play them properly until he was 17.
“I had no goals, no vision and playing the drums captivated me.”
Now he teaches drums, guitar and the piano in schools, businesses, disability groups and people with mental health problems and those suffering from stress or anxiety.
Drums release emotions, trauma and negative feelings, he said.
“They’re a great way to communicate ideas,” he says.
Glenn enjoys working with children who have learning disabilities. They are immediately able to make a connection, he says.
Outside of his working life, Glenn likes nothing better than playing live. He is a regular at the Live Bands session from 9pm every Friday at the Redoubt Bar in Te Awamutu.
His favourite drummer is Daniel Carey from the American rock band Tool going as far as naming his son after him.
“I find him magnificent; he applies himself to the art like no other.”
Other favourites are Gregg Bissonette, a studio drummer who was a member of the David Lee Roth band and Clyde Stubblefield, the most recorded drummer ever who died in 2017 but his drum patterns are still heavily used in hip hop music.
Drums are a member of the percussion group of musical instruments.
There are over a hundred different types of drums played by either striking with the hand, sticks or brushes. Their therapeutic use has been well documented.
Drummer Glenn Jackson with Enrich Plus staff l-r Laura Seal, Zoe Wang, Jasmin Khan, Cindy Wolmarans, Tanya Geldenhuys, Malcolm Aspden and Sarah Sisti.
Drummer Glenn Jackson, centre, with Enrich Plus staff l-r Sarah Sisti, Malcolm Aspden, Laura Seal and Zoe Wang (both partially obscured).