PHOEBE Havyatt wants to busk on the streets of Byron Bay - an ambitious plan for someone who is only just learning to play the djembe at 62, but after attending her first drumming circle on Tuesday, she is confident.

"You feel so good after the drumming. Really uplifted and energised. There's an energy in the collective group that builds up and it gets your heart pumping," she said.

Ms Havyatt was among 32 older people who attended the first of an eight-week drumming circle for seniors held at the Byron Bay Community Centre as part of Byron Healthy Ageing, a three-year program funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care.

UPLIFTING: Pictured at the Byron Bay drumming workshop are Jennie Lea and Phoebe Havyatt with tutor Gareth Jones.
UPLIFTING: Pictured at the Byron Bay drumming workshop are Jennie Lea and Phoebe Havyatt with tutor Gareth Jones. Megan Kinninment

Community Services Manager at the centre, Cat Seddon, said the program was designed to encourage older Byron residents to utilise the centre.

"Byron Bay is such a youth-centric place and we want the community centre to be a place older people can use to socialise and make connections," she said.

"We want to show we value and support our older people and having a drumming circle is an activity that is not treating them like they are old," she said.

Facilitating the drumming circle was tutor Gareth Jones from Sound Synergy who introduced the participants to the djembe drum, an instrument newcomers can get a sound out of immediately.

"For the past 18 months I've been working with dementia patients on the Gold Coast and the drumming has been so successful for them," Mr Jones said.

"They can feel connected to each other; they get a great physical workout and the music and rhythm has a hypnotic effect that is so therapeutic."

The drumming circle for seniors will run for eight weeks at the Byron Bay Community Centre on Tuesdays at 10.30. Cost is $5 and includes morning tea.



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