Tag Archives: Randy Brody

Bang The Drum, Randy

Work brought Randy Brody to Westport from Brooklyn 40 years ago. The job did not work out, but he stayed.

He did animation and special effects for films. He also wrote, and traveled the world. In his free time, he played drums. More than 25 years ago, he began leading drumming circles in South Norwalk.

Randy Brody

His circles grew to 25 people. No matter what kind of day he or anyone else had, at the end of a drum circle everyone felt good.

When Randy realized that technical writing was not for him, he turned his attention more seriously to drumming. He took classes in music therapy, studied improvisation and music teaching, and improved as a hand drummer.

As he delved into African, Middle Eastern and Brazilian percussion, he thought to himself: “This is why I’m on this planet.”

In 2001 — around the time he turned 50 — Randy left the corporate world.

His first drum circle gig was at The Marvin, a senior residence in Norwalk. He set up in the living room. Within a few minutes, everyone was having a great time. “Even people having trouble walking were drumming and dancing,” Randy recalls.

The director asked when Randy was coming back — and what he charged. He had never thought about either question.

Randy walked into senior centers like Westport’s, and assisted living facilities like the Greens at Cannondale. He had no appointments, but was welcomed in.

No one else was doing anything like it. Within a year or two, he was known as The Drum Guy. He was in demand from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

Randy Brody with adults…

Next, Randy organized drum circles for young adults with special needs.

“I experienced the healing power of drumming. It was therapeutic for them — and me,” he says. “I’d never had that sense of fulfillment in any job. Now I never have a bad day at work.”

Group drumming creates high energy and builds community, Randy says. It reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

It helps people with chronic diseases. One person told him, “For an hour, I forget I’m fighting cancer.”

He’s heard a nurse say of an Alzheimer’s patient, “He can’t do anything.” Five minutes later, the same person is drumming — and smiling.

Randy also does one-on-one sessions with autistic children. Sometimes the entire family joins in.

… and a younger drummer.

These days, his main work is with Abilis. Several times a months, he leads drum circles for the Greenwich-based special needs non-profit.

“It’s so rewarding, sitting in a circle playing hand drums,” he notes. “There’s such a connection between the group, the therapists, social workers and me. They’ve become my family.”

Some autistic youngsters can’t speak, or express themselves. But, Randy says, they relate to drums. And when they see him coming, they smile.

Every drum circle is different. But each time, Randy leaves with a full heart.

In the last few years, Randy has had his own medical issues. But he brings his drums to the hospital. Even after surgery, he plays.

It helps with pain management. The doctors think it’s helpful for recovery.

And, Randy smiles, “All the nurses start dancing.”

(Randy Brody will put together a drum circle for anyone — including corporations. Click here for more information. Hat tip: Sarah Gross.)

 

Hurricane Victims: More Ways To Help

Westport continues to respond to the recent hurricanes. Here are 2 intriguing ways to help.

Kidz Give Back — a local organization that lets children stuff, dress and prepare plush toy animals for others in hospitals or financial distress — encourages area youngsters to “send love” to boys and girls in Texas.

Their goal is 1,000 “Stuffed With Love” animals.

Clicking here brings up a donation form. $25 buys a kit with animal skin, stuffing, a wish star, clothing, accessories, gift card, “adoption certificate,” and bracelet so you (well, your child) can build a stuffed animal. Kits can be picked up at 23 Silverbrook Road, where the Wofsy family — originators of the project — live.

It takes less than 30 minutes to assemble an animal. You bring it back to their house; they ship it to Houston.

If you don’t want to assemble the stuffed animal yourself, your donation can purchase a kit for a child to do it.

The Wofsy family (from left): Hallie, Maya, Layla and Scott.

Help of a different kind comes from “Rhythms of Hope.” The benefit drum circle is set for this Saturday (September 16, 2 to 5 p.m.), at the Unitarian Church.

Westport resident Randy Brody — head of Sound Directions — offers his facilitation and drumming skills. Donations ($20 for adults; $10 for seniors; children under 12 free) to participate will raise funds for Direct Relief, which provides medical supplies and health services in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Everyone is welcome. No drumming experience is necessary. For more information call 203-227-7205, ext. 14, or email rbdrumguy@sbcglobal.net.

Randy Brody and his drums.