There are many ways to connect with a drum. Some shamanic practitioners craft their own drums. A drum of your own creation will be imbued with your own unique essence. It will become a powerful extension of your essential self. Moreover, the spirit of a drum will pass through your hands into the drum as you make it. Other practitioners may choose to purchase drums, and then decorate them in ways that infuse their own energy into it.
One of the best ways to connect with a drum is by journeying to meet the spirit of your drum. Begin by smudging the drum, and then call upon the spirit of the drum and ask it to come to you and become your ally. To support your journey, you can play the drum you are working with or listen to a shamanic journey drumming recording while holding the drum.
When you meet the spirit of the drum, it may teach you some special ways you can use the drum for your shamanic work that you did not know before. It may have a specific name, purpose or type of energy (for example some feel very grounding, others more ethereal). Your drum may wish to be played, decorated or stored in a particular way. It may teach you a rhythm for invoking and enlivening it. When a helping spirit is invoked, there is often an accompanying rhythm that comes through. Be open to the possibilities.
If the initial communication with the spirit of the drum is not very clear, that's OK. Journeys like this can be repeated a number of times, in fact it is a good thing to do just to develop an ongoing relationship. You can journey to connect with the spirit of your drum as often as you like. To learn more, read "Waking the Drum."