As an old proverb says, "Rhythm is the soul of life." This couldn’t have been more true for Phil Didlake the moment he experienced his first drum circle on a beach in Santa Cruz, California. Seeing the joyful collaboration and communication that drumming brought to the participants, he created his own thriving drum circle in Livermore, California and was featured on a local TV channel. As the beat grew, Phil sought additional education, going to Arthur Hull’s drum circle facilitation training and then returning to college to study music.

At Las Positas College Phil studied music theory, joined the Jazz band, became president of the Performing Arts Club, and created a 10-person Afro-drum performance ensemble. Through all these new experiences, Phil found that Music Therapy was a profession that resonated with the rhythmical events that he facilitated at schools, community events, day care centers, special needs groups and children's camps. After an exhaustive search, he found that the only accredited institution open to his passion of drumming and improvisation was the Berklee College of Music. He immediately dedicated himself to an intensive period of study and was accepted for admission.

At Berklee, Phil has thrived both in his formal studies and as an energetic member of the greater Berklee community. Phil organized and is running A Rhythmical Movement Meet-Up group whose purpose is to teach drum circle facilitation skills to Berklee students. Phil has acted as reader/ scribe, assisting blind students in reading textbooks and test taking. Perhaps most important, he is president of the New England Region American Music Therapy Association for Students (NER-AMTAS) and speaks for all of the Music Therapy students in the New England region. At First Parish Unitarian Church in Brookline, Ma., Phil hosted and facilitated a new drum circle, which the congregation is enthusiastic to make a monthly event. He is going well beyond the boundaries of his formal training, leading and participating in numerous school and community events.  

As Phil looks forward, he is excited to be entering a profession filled with the things he loves - music, people, improvisation, collaboration, community building, and helping improve the quality of life . Phil is excited to see where his adventures in rhythm take him next.


Event: Drum Circle: Berklee College of Music, 2014