In collaboration with the Santa Clarita-based drum manufacturer Remo, Inc., an Alabama musician has turned his passion for drumming into a variety of rhythm programs designed to help people improve their quality of life.Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking Santa Clarita news alerts delivered right to your inbox.
John Scalici, creator of Get Rhythm in Birmingham, Alabama, began his career as a drummer for a music group that performed in clubs and other venues. After a number of years, Scalici realized that he wanted to use his passion for drumming to help others instead.
“There comes a point in your life where you have to make a decision; if you’re not going to go up and you’re not going to go any farther, you have to be comfortable with that, and I wasn’t comfortable with that,” he said. “So I made the decision that I wanted to add more value to more people through the drum, and that’s when I got into drum circle facilitation.”
Describing his role as a facilitator as his passion, Scalici’s mission through Get Rhythm is to inspire, motivate and empower all people through the universal language of rhythm. For more than a decade, Scalici has worked with a variety of people in group settings in partnership with Remo, Inc.
“I do everything from corporate programs to special needs, and everything in between,” he said. “I feel like I’m a part of that Remo family; it’s been 14 years and I couldn’t do it otherwise.”
Following Remo, Inc.’s release of a new drum technology designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, called Comfort Sound Technology, Scalici described its impact on program participants as “enormous.”
A composite drumhead material, Comfort Sound Technology delivers a unique quality of sound by eliminating or suppressing higher frequencies and delivering a low fundamental tone with a big vibration, but shortened decay. The sound may not be overstimulating to individuals with sound sensitivities, such as those with autism, Alzheimer’s disease or PTSD.
“About 99.9 percent of people out there think that drums are loud,” Scalici explained. “They think that there’s only one way to play a drum, and that’s loud. … When Remo started developing this Comfort Sound Technology, it took the volume down by about 60 percent, so it’s been amazing for people that have some sensory issues with the high end sound, the high end frequency of a drum, especially near the edge of the drum. All that is gone.”
According to Remo, Inc., the elimination of higher frequencies and suppression of overtones has the physical impact and perception of a much lower volume drum sound. However, it still delivers a significant vibration.
Because children and adults with autism or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often highly sensitive to high frequencies or loud sounds, the dramatic reduction in perceived volume and change in the quality of the sound in drums with Comfort Sound Technology can make drumming accessible to those it otherwise wouldn’t be.
“It’s so incredible, it’s easy on the ears and you can do everything that you could or should do with a normal drum, except you’ve slashed your volume,” Scalici said. “Now they actually get some type of immediate benefit from playing the drum rather than being turned away by it. That’s a huge difference.”
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Santa Clarita hometown manufacturer Remo Inc. has partnered with leading neurologists and drum education experts to develop evidence-based wellness programs that use rhythm as a tool to support better living. Music therapists often use these tools for their music therapy work. Sometimes people refer to this as drum therapy. One such program, called HealthRHYTHMS, utilizes drumming as a tool for communication and personal expression by guiding participants through a 10-step process. Other Remo wellness programs consider the needs of people with autism who drum, and people with Alzheimer’s and PTSD who also use the drum to improve the quality of their lives. Remo, Inc. is one of the leading drum manufacturers, making drums with recycled material.