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Heeding the Rhythms of Life

August 12, 1993|ANNE LOUISE BANNON

According to drummer and classical guitarist Rian McGonigal, rhythm is practically the first experience of life.

"Rhythm is the first thing we hear," said McGonigal, who will lead a drumming workshop Saturday at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles. "In the womb we hear our mother's heartbeat. It's the first sense we experience. Everything we know is based on rhythm, the universe. The Earth spins in cycles. We have cycles. We walk in rhythm. We breathe in rhythm."

A classical guitarist who has performed around the world, McGonigal said he became interested in drumming because "I wanted to work more closely with people in a way that they could participate in making the music and not just listen. And drumming is very easy."

He began working with drums and introduced them to abused children in 1986 at the DeeDee Hirsch Center in Culver City.

From there, his interest grew.

Some people have been attending his weekly seminars at the society for a long time, but newcomers are most welcome.

"People come just wanting to bang around on the drums, and for some it's a deeply religious ceremony," he said.

Drumming can also be a great way to develop better coordination between hands.

"It's a great way to synchronize the left and right brain," McGonigal said. "I try to promote the emphasis on the non-dominant hand to give (people) practice with the side they don't use so much."

Finally, McGonigal said, drumming is just plain fun.

"Ceremonial fun is what I like to call it," he said.

The workshop meets from noon to 2 p.m. at the society, 3910 Los Feliz Blvd. The fee is $10.

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