Thursday, October 30, 2014

MPT Feature Airing Tonight!

The above feature airs tonight at 7:30 on MPT's Your Money and Business.

In August, their production crew visited two of my groups, a Beatwell Group Therapy with adults with chronic mental illness and a Beatwell Playshop with seniors at a residential complex.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Baltimore Book Festival 2014 Recap

Effective libraries serve numerous functions. Books are important and what most of us associate with the local library.

Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library has plenty of books with over 20 branch locations.

They also realize they serve their city by building community.

I began working with Enoch Pratt earlier this year when I was asked to share a few programs at their Federal Hill branch. The success of these events awarded me the opportunity to kick off the Baltimore Book Festival

For an hour, my team and I welcomed infants, a preschool, parents and that monster from Where The Wild Things Are to drum joyfully and in community. We did it on the entrance to the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor--a perfect location.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Maryland Public TV Preview

This is cool...

Last month I shared a couple unique Beatwell Playshops with some familiar friends.

Unique in that Maryland Public Television producers were on site to film!

I returned to Weinberg Village, an independent senior living community in Owings Mills, and also shared my largest drum circle group therapy at my "day job" with over 40 adults with chronic mental illness.

Both shoots were memorable, and I look forward to sharing the upcoming MPT air date and video link with you soon!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Hot August Music Festival 2014

Beatwell returned for our second year to the Hot August Music Festival. The sold out event took over Oregon Ridge Park. We shared three Beatwell Drum Circles including one just for the kids!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The world has 40 new Drum Circle Facilitators!

Over the past two weeks, I trained the 40 kids above (ages 4-9) to become drum circle facilitators.

This was part of a performing arts camp at the Owings Mills JCC. I have worked with many groups of kids, but I used this residency as an opportunity to empower the children as leaders.

This is now the mission of all of my programs.

I was inspired by Jim Donovan's 4-day Drum Circle Leadership training in Loretto, PA at the end of June. I highly recommend one of Jim's many trainings.

Today I began with a new group of campers and at the end of next week we'll be debuting another stage full of leaders!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Coming Full Circle

In three hours I will return to The Auburn School to share an end of the year, celebratory drum circle. They gave me the amazing opportunity to share Beatwell Playshops, twice a week, for the first few months of the school year. I'm pumped to finish the year with them just as strong as we started it.

The Calm Before the Beatwell Playshop

These bookend bookings at Auburn seemed fitting as some commitments have ended for the summer and new ones begin. My consultation sessions and drum therapy groups at the Hannah More School have come to an end. These experiences helped me continue to grow as a clinician, educator and leader in therapeutic drumming. I look forward to continuing my work at Hannah More in September!

I'm excited to begin working with Greater Allegany Counseling, a private psychotherapy practice out of Catonsville, MD as a therapist. This will allow me to introduce therapeutic drumming to various populations and will provide for me the experience needed to become an independently licensed psychotherapist.

Facilitating a Family Beatwell Playshop

In May, I shared a few unique Beatwell Playshops. I spent an evening in northwest Baltimore drumming with 25 seniors at the Bristol House. The organizers shared with me their joy of seeing the participants light up with drumming, dancing and laughter.

Beatwell Playshop at the Bristol House in Baltimore

In another first, I brought Beatwell to Goodwill Industries International in Baltimore. They host weekly groups aiding adults in search of steady employment. I was asked to lead a Playshop focused on team-building and engagement. About 20 of us drummed for an hour, creating possibly the most enjoyable music I've experienced in this work yet!

When I began this path of therapeutic and community drumming a few years ago, I could not have envisioned some of the opportunities that would come. My work consistently surprises, challenges and inspires me. I'm looking forward to a summer full of meaningful drumming!

Monday, May 12, 2014

April Playshops Recap

A great thing about Beatwell Playshops is getting to share them with all kinds of groups. 

In April I got to Beatwell with the Pigtown community for the third year a row. Some of the city's most passionate entrepreneurs and artists drummed with me at the Create Baltimore conference. I brought my program to a birthday party and a yeshiva (Jewish day school) for the first time. I've also continued to co-lead a therapeutic drum group at the Hannah More School in Reisterstown.

In the coming months I'll be drumming with more seniors, corporate employees, mental health populations and at plenty of camps and festivals! 

Pigtown Health Festival

Create Baltimore conference

Birthday Party at Drool of Rock

Monday, April 7, 2014

Holocaust Survivors Playshop Recap

I could attempt to sum up my experience sharing a Beatwell Playshop with over 30 Holocaust Survivors on this blog.

My best blogpost wouldn't do it justice.

Thankfully, Marc Shapiro from the Jewish Times documented this landmark event in my life with a magazine article and video.

JT Article

Video of Playshop

Beat well, indeed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Playshops

Spring is starting to break (although it's snowing outside) which is exciting because I'm starting to book Beatwell Playshops for the summer. I'm looking forward to sharing the joy of music-making with many camps, festivals and more.

Beatwell Playshop at Matisyahu concert at JCC

This is an exciting week with 3 Playshops, all with very different groups and purposes. Here's what's on tap:

Teens at Enoch Pratt Library in Federal Hill

Holocaust Survivors at Park Heights JCC

Baltimore Lab School students and their grandparents

Each Beatwell Playshop has it's own feel and goals, but a common thread is that we are building a positive community. Over the next month, I'll be sharing what I'm expecting to be powerful experiences with each of these groups. 

I'm also excited to announce that I passed all of the exams mentioned in the past few posts. I'm now a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC) in Maryland. This is an important step in my career path which will allow me to expand the services I offer.

Here's to warmer weather and peaceful rhythms!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Creating Rhythm in the Smart Age

This is a fitting post (in many ways) to coincide with the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web.

The internet has given us the opportunity to easily connect with just about anyone in the world.

Kat Fulton is a music therapist who has led the way in integrating technology and marketing within the field. I had the idea for this article after seeing the great movie "Her." I took a shot and emailed Kat with the idea (I had nothing to lose). She thought it would resonate with her readers and just like that, it's published. Check it out at the link below!

Creating Rhythm in the Smart Age

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I was rejected last week.


I was rejected last week.

I am human. 

I was disappointed, disheartened, felt dismissed, and a few other words that start with "dis."

I think it's good to fully acknowledge and feel these natural feelings.

But after that, it becomes a choice in how to respond.

This is how I will respond—

I will realize that rejection is part of the bigger journey.

The amount of rejection and failure I experience is relative to the number of chances I take.

During my Beatwell Playshops, I encourage others to not only fail, but to FAIL BIG.

Without this vulnerability, we will rarely SUCCEED BIG. 

I am now even more motivated and committed to my mission.

Those who rejected me may one day come to regret it. 

And if they don't, that's okay too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Creating New Worlds

When you create music, you create a new world.

Beatwell Playshop at Baltimore Lab School

I recently began joining a therapy group with two high schoolers. The "regular," weekly group therapy at school was not working out for the boys.

In this "Plan B" group, the school's therapist is expected to incorporate drumming, but has no prior experience.

This is where I come in.

Within minutes, I recognized a major dynamic between the two boys. They interact as bully and victim.

When engaged in a verbal context, one of the boys is downright cruel. 

However, the other has adapted by responding sarcastically, showing no chink in his armor.

The bully doesn't get the rise he's looking for, and the pursuit continues.

But when we all played music together for the first time, I felt a shift.


Sure, their personality characteristics were still expressed—the bully took the driver's seat and we all went along for the ride.

But in this new world, the "bully" was now being supported.

We all worked as one team, expressing our individual voices while creating and continuously recreating one improvised world.

What a powerful metaphor!

Sometimes we get comfortable in our roles. Making music provides the space to explore new worlds, and thus a chance to explore new aspects of ourselves.

When I return to the group tomorrow, I plan to continue strengthening this more positive world of expression.