The Tongue Drum is a popular musical instrument used in some forms of meditation. Popularity in both solo and group meditation is growing and the affordability of Tongue Drum makes it a perfect accompaniment for meditative sessions.
The best Tongue Drum for meditation will be portable and tuned to a harmonic scale, able to be played with finger, hands or mallets. The tone fields of the tongue should resonate well to that any class being worked with can hear clearly each tone when struck.
Let’s find out more about meditation, yoga and self-help with tongue drums.
What Are They?
First of all: what are they?! Fear not, they are NOT drums made from tongues (phew!). Rest assured no human or animal parts feature in the construction of these instruments! Tongue drums are, thankfully, usually made from steel or metal alloys, or sometimes wood.
Tongue drums, also known as tank or hank drums, are types of slit drums (strictly idiophones) that were originally made from re-purposed propane tanks. They are now available in a wide range of musical and aesthetic styles – most look a bit like flying saucers.
Characteristically U-shaped ‘tongue’ marks radiate around the surface of the drum, guiding users to the right spots for sounding notes.
The drums can be played with bare hands, or with mallets or sticks, depending on the type of experience and sound desired.
The soft, peaceful notes of tongue drums create soothing melodies that can be enjoyed by all and are particularly suited to wellness practices.
Can I Play One?
Yes! The great thing about tongue drums is that they are very easy to use.
The notes of a tongue drum are all arranged around a certain scale (usually the pentatonic scale, although specialist drums are available in other scales). This means that you can play along without a chance of creating any dreadful clashy noises … all the notes complement each other and harmonize well together.
No stress, just beautiful free-flowing music.
Why a Tongue Drum?
A tongue drum is a wonderful object to own. You don’t have to be a musician to learn how to play it but it offers more potential for a creative musical outlet and greater versatility than simpler instruments like bars, bells and forks.
Tongue drums are also easy to transport around the house or beyond!
A tongue drum offers instant benefits with very little hassle or limitations.
6 Ways to Use a Tongue Drum
1. Healing Vibes
Music therapy and sound baths are widely reputed to be effective methods of improving relaxation and mood whilst also reducing stress, anxiety and pain.
Many people note that certain sound vibrations trigger particular physical and emotional responses and it is common to experience a restorative effect on the body and mind following therapeutic musical sessions.
Tongue drums are a perfect way to incorporate the healing qualities of sound into your everyday routine or your self-care toolkit.
2. Immersion and Improvisation
Tongue drums are wonderful instruments for immersion, focus and relaxation.
Listening to tongue drum music is popular and beneficial during a yoga or meditation session. Concentrating on the tones and harmonies of the tongue drums can help to focus and quieten the mind, enabling your practice to flow from a deeper, more serene state.
Tongue drums are also great to play during meditation and at the start or end of a yoga session. The bonus of playing the drum is that you get to experience the physical sensations more fully and the active engagement aids your level of immersion in the music and the moment.
3. Melodic Musings, Mantras and Manifestations
Melodic drumming is particularly favored by those who struggle to relax, stop worrying or calm whirling thoughts. The drumming action and the resulting harmonies give a focal point, an intention and a purposeful distraction from other mental meanderings. The beat can also act as a handy guide for regulating your breathing.
Synchronizing your thoughts, actions and feedback in the form of sound can be a very calming practice. It is an ideal way to warm up, wrap up, or as a standalone activity.
Chanting alongside tongue drum music, either played or listened to, can be particularly rejuvenating. Chanting a mantra or affirmation in this way can make your intention feel even more powerful. This is a great tool for manifesting a vision or goal.
4. Free-Flowing Fun
Taking time to let go of rules and restrictions and allowing your body to move to its natural beat is very freeing and can release hidden feelings and emotions from the subconscious. Sometimes the body knows more than the mind and this can be a route to expressing and revealing those deeper messages to yourself.
5. Chakra Cleansing
Specialist tongue drums are available to aid chakra cleansing. The notes of these drums are tuned to correspond to each of the seven chakras.
To facilitate chakra healing it is recommended that the notes are played from the lowest chakra (root) to the highest chakra (crown) whilst focusing on the particular chakra to be cleansed, along with any other beneficial visualizations or mantras you might like to work with.
6. Join a Jam
It has never been more apparent how important socialization is for mental health. Tongue drums are an accessible way to join together to experiment musically and enjoy the company of others. A jam session with friends is a fantastic way to lift the spirits.