ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) An Essex man takes things at his own tempo. His Made in Vermont turtle drums provide the soundtrack for greater mental health.
Dan Maxon is about to take us on a spiritual journey and a mental awakening, with the help of his raw hide turtle drums. "When you drum, you can set up a certain rhythm that actually shifts the frequency that your brain operates on," Maxon said.
A former drummer in the high school marching band, Maxon left the world of percussion for an engineering career at the University of Vermont. About five years ago he bought some drum making materials, went to YouTube and found a drum making video from a member of the Salish Tribe in the Pacific Northwest.
"He had a very straight forward method to make the drum and I said, 'I can do that.' And I did," Maxon said. "Each type of skin responds differently to environmental conditions."
Maxon uses mostly elk and buffalo skin. He soaks the hide for about eight to 10 hours. When it dries, it stretches tight. Once the hide is ready to go, he ties it to either a maple or yellow cedar rim, a process that takes about 90 minutes.
Maxon holds drum making workshops where curers converge. "Drums can be used to break blockages in you energetic body, make you healthier that way," he said. "Do that for extended periods of time and it will shift the frequency of your brain waves."
These turtle drums have been sent across the country and around the world, from First Nation members in Canada to shamans in Sweden.
"When you get a drum circle, everybody starts building a rhythm and then they all get on the same vibration and it sort of makes meditation especially easy," Maxon said.
"I've always made tools of one sort or another all my life, and so this is a good combination for me -- that I can bring spiritual tools to people who need them and want them and use them, and it's just a very satisfying experience for me," Maxon said.
Nothing beats Dan Maxon's turtle drum devotion.