By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at noon. The purpose of this class is to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one.
“I regretted that music fell away as I became an adult,” said Pam Guiden. “Years later, after moving to Pagosa, I was surprised to get back to it in a very different way. When my husband and I moved here a year and a half ago, I began looking for ways to get out and learn about the community — to get involved, see new faces and do new things. Reading an article in The SUN about the drumming class, I thought, ‘Well, I’ve never tried this before, but, what the heck, let’s give it a whirl.’ What I discovered was that I really, really enjoyed it.”
She continued: “I was very involved in music as a young child, growing up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and began piano in the first grade, then started French horn in fourth grade. I went pretty far with the French horn, playing in bands and orchestras, the community symphony and a small group ensemble at a university. I did one semester of concert band at Indiana University, but studies as a nursing major took precedence. Later, as I began working as a community health nurse, I did not have enough time to devote to the instrument, although I did get a chance to play with the Kansas community band for a couple of years.”
Working as a community health nurse for 34 years, Guiden’s career path has led to numerous opportunities to use her clinical knowledge and experience to design and implement a wide range of wellness-promoting programs in nonclinical settings in the U.S. and other countries. Working as a public health nurse in schools, she has been impressed by the potential music has to promote learning and growth.
“I had a chance to see how children really respond to music and how you can integrate that in the classroom, and involve different parts of their brain. It makes the day a better day when the teachers include music as an activity. Kids really tend to light up when they participate in making music. They just really blossom with that. I think a lot of children don’t have much exposure to music-making at home, but I think it’s really important to get that foundation in, as much as you can, in their earlier years, and give them an exposure, an interest, a building block.
“I think we’re just at the edge of understanding what a beneficial capacity music can have to promote learning and growth, as a different path to the brain, a different way to engage. I like the idea of making music a cradle to grave opportunity.”
She added, “I think Paul’s drumming class is an unusual opportunity to have in a relatively small mountain community. Being able to express and create and flow — it kind of wipes your mind clean and lets you move on, in a way. I’m really impressed to have that freedom, that creative expression. You can’t do anything wrong. You have to get out of your head. You have to let your inhibitions down a little bit, relax and play. Also, I think when you have the opportunity to express yourself musically, that sets up a tremendous opportunity for stress reduction.
“It’s a shared experience, which is relationship building, a unique opportunity. At least a couple drum circles have sprouted off the Pagosa drumming class, so it’s creating a ripple, a wave. I see a lot of potential benefits and applicability for this type of free-form, expressive and creative musical experience.”
For more information about the hand-drumming class, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.
By Paul Roberts