ARFC-the beginnings…and an ending…

Kuala Lumpur is another home from home for me on planet Earth. This will be my 5th visit. I am always met and taken care of by my good friend and whisky connoisseur John J Hagedorn, founder of MyBeat and a community builder extraordinaire.

I will along with a whole host of rhythmical souls from across the Globe, descend on KL over a couple of weeks for a series of pre-conference workshops and the ARFC itself.

The pre-conference line up this year is awesome as always.

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Then comes the conference itself which this year hosts a fabulous line up and has sold greater numbers than previous years.

Conference Program

KEYNOTE: Mary Tolena – The Rhythm of Energy Art

In this session, we will identify the various elements of energy art as a visual artist might: What media do we work with and give shape?  What are our tools?  What is our process of creation?  What layers are we’re trying to create?  Understanding your DCF work on the level of energy art will help everything you do make more sense.

Jim Boneau – Facilitating for Emotional Resonance

In this session, we will define and experience Moments of Emotional Resonance and unpack their impact on the individual and the group’s development.  We will share techniques to help you be more intentional about creating Moments of Emotional Resonance in all your rhythm events.

Jú Linares – “Beyond Fun: Program Design for Participant Learning and Client Results”

In this session, we will learn a flexible 5-step structure that takes participants through stages of Awareness, Connection, Dialog, and Creativity.  The fifth stage is a culmination of the learning that called “Performance,” where the client’s goals are fully highlighted.  These 5 stages develop participants’ confidence, understanding, and musicality step-by-step.  You can easily adapt the framework to your style and repertoire of rhythm activities.

Preet Kalsi – What is Therapy, What is Not

This session will identify and explore the elements of the music therapy process, the definition of therapy, the definition of music therapy, the elements of music, and the elements that enable a therapeutic processing outside of therapy but is not therapy as a clinical treatment.

Ma. Solinda Garcia-Bautista – Getting into the Groove with a Social Thinking® Mindset for Autism

This session will present research conducted in 2017 conceptualizing a music therapy intervention model that addresses social communication challenges of youth with autism, inspired by a range of applicable rhythm techniques and Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® framework. This research is among the first produced in the Philippines. The resultant blueprint can be expanded with additional Social Thinking® dimensions and client populations, and potentially utilized in practice.

Stefano Baroni – Rhythm, Melody, Emotions, Relationships

In this session we will experience how body music (music produced by the body — vocal sounds and body rhythms) is an extremely useful tool to form and consolidate rhythmic awareness and coordination, increase self-esteem, improve attention and concentration, and develop relationships with others.

Elizabeth Huxtable – Sound Therapy and the Voice as Healing Tools

In this presentation, participants will learn about the principles of sound therapy and how it positively affects the autonomic nervous system. They will then learn and practise simple vocal techniques to quickly move from stress to calm. They will then learn a technique to use their own voice to help another. We will also look at how different sound tools such as singing bowls can be used at home for relaxation, facilitating meditation, clearing the environment, as well as releasing pain.

Paul John Dear – Nada Brahma: The World is Sound

During this session we will explore the concept that everything, that which lies within us and without us, has it’s basis in sound or vibration. Paul will use techniques from Drum Circle Facilitation and Music Medicine to create and empower our collective experience.

Abby Greene Bull – Found Sound Rhythm Circle

The Found Sound Rhythm Circle gets your creative juices flowing as you discover things in the room that make a sound – chairs, water bottles, windows –  including sounds of the body and voice.  All of our discovered “instruments” are then used in creative rhythmic games that encourage listening, interacting, connecting and grooving to the pulse.

Catherine Lim – Laughter – The Inner-Child’s Freedom of Expression

This session will leave you smiling ear to ear. Laughter Yoga is a unique exercise routine that combines unconditional laughter with yoga breathing method (pranayama). It is simulated as a physical exercise, whilst maintaining eye contact with others and promoting childlike playfulness which leads from fake to real and contagious laughter.

Aaron Kierbel – Sweet Rhythms 

This workshop will explore the delicious connection between chocolate and drumming. Be prepared for an interactive, multi-sensory experience: Drums will be played, chocolate will be tasted and a smile will be on your face as you experience the joy of creating Sweet Rhythms together.”


Yesterday we began set up. Today we begin to play. Stay tuned for pictures/videos and stories along the way.

As we begin this RHYTHMICAL journey a great teacher of mine begins another one to join his Ancestors.


Baba Adesose Wallace was a true elder in the drumming community in the UK and I first encountered him in the early days of the Tribe of Doris where I learned talking drum and Youruba songs. He was a hard taskmaster at times but always a glint in his eye and, once he knew you were ‘into it’ he softened. I will cherish the memory of singing and drumming with him in those days.

Over the years when we met in different settings he was always happy to take a moment, share a story, have a chat…always.

Today as I drum I will wing a prayer upwards in his honour.

Axe Baba.


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