Dwight brings drumming rhythm to Youtube

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

Ruth Dwight has worked with the library for several years now. N

ormally her role involves bringing drumming programs to long term care homes with the library’s collection of small drums, maracas and other small percussion instruments in tow. When this was no longer possible last spring, Ruth took on a new challenge – adapting these in person programs to a virtual format. The videos are available on Youtube and delivered on DVD and by email to the homes she would normally have visited.

Not having the actual drums available didn’t stop Ruth and her intrepid groups of drummers – participants are encouraged to drum on their table, their lap, or on an empty container. One home noted that as a result of this program being offered, three people have purchased their own drum and 1 has purchased maracas to continue participating, as the “drumming circle continues to be a highlight for people!”

To keep the personal connection, each video begins with shout-outs to a couple of people at each location and goes on to feature many of the familiar rhythms that were used in the in person programs.

As Ruth says, “If you can say it, you can play it”, and her rhythms feature catchy phrases including ‘I like peanut butter, I like jam’, and ‘I love to play my drum.’” The syllables of the words are rhythms that people can play along to. Additionally, the program always includes a recorded song that all join in on.

“Recently, I have been reaching out to local musicians in The County and they have all been very gracious in allowing me to use their music in my videos. To date, we have drummed along to an eclectic mix of original, jazz, pop, country, and blues from Mario Panacci, Rita di Ghent, Bill Wood, Instant Rivalry, Bill McBurney, and KASHKA,“ explains Ruth. We know that there are many benefits to drumming. Research tells us that participating in drumming groups can help decrease anxiety and depression, improve joint mobility and posture, help with motor skills, improve language ability, increase energy, relieve stress and help the participants make new social connections with each other. Best of all, it encourages participants to have fun and be in the moment – something we can all use a little more of!

The participants are raving about the program with staff members at long term care homes explaining that “the resident’s days are long, and this helps to brighten their day”. Ruth explains that while “nothing can replace the smiles and laughter of our in person ‘Joyful Noise’ sessions, and while I truly miss seeing everyone in person, knowing these videos provide a little brightness and fun into their days brings me a lot of joy.If you are interested in being emailed when a new video is released, please contact Ruth at rdwight@peclibrary.org or call (613) 476-5962.

You can also find the previous videos on the library’s Youtube Channel by searching Prince Edward County Library.

-Liz Zylstra