Don't know what a drum circle is? Read our drum circle FAQ here!

 

Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • Summer kids activities in full swing

    If you have kids in the Northeast or South Florida region, chances are one or more of them drummed with us this summer as part of their camp activities.  After all, what goes better together than summer camp and drum circles?

    Through a variety of funding sources, we were able to serve more than 3,700 children and youth through rhythm this summer.  And, that’s not counting all the parents, grandparents, and staff members who indirectly grooved along with us!  Some organizations who enjoyed the drumming fun included:

    • The YMCA’s of Duval, Clay, and Baker counties
    • The  Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and Broward county
    • Communities in Schools of Jacksonville
    • The Cummer Museum
    • The Jacksonville Public Library
    • The Miami-Dade Public Library System
    • The Cities of Miramar and Pembroke Pines
    • Hope Haven
    • The Jacksonville Zoo

    Wondering what a summer drum circle entails?  Read on…

    Focus on cultural activities

    The Duval county YMCA’s had weekly cultural themes and our week was ancient Egypt.  This means we got to talk about the different types of instruments (including drums) the ancient Egyptians used.  Also, we talked about songs they sang, and compared them to the music we listen to and make today.

    Space, the final frontier

    The libraries’ summer reading theme this year was “A Universe of Stories.”  So, naturally we created rhythms around the planets in our solar system!  Additionally, we had a great time talking about our favorite books and stories, and even making up some of our own!

    Leadership and communication

    No drum circle would be complete without a chance for participants to practice their leadership skills and improve communication with each other.  We played games focusing on verbal and non-verbal communication, feelings/emotions, and passing the leadership from person to person.

    The fun doesn’t have to end with summer!  If you have an after-school or out of school program, we’d love to continue the fun and learning there!  Contact us to find out how to make the most of your experience!

    Share this:
  • Team-building with Humana and River City Live

    Team-building with video cameras in your face is no easy feat, but the employees of Humana did it with grace – and a little bit of playfulness.  After all, they’re setting a wellness example to all their clients as a premier healthcare company.

    So why the video cameras?  Local Jacksonville TV show River City Live sent two co-hosts out to our session with Humana employees to learn all about drumming for wellness.  Hosts Rance Adams and Mark Payton joined in the fun and learned about some of the research behind drumming in a corporate environment.

    Team-building – what Humana learned

    As you might think, Humana employees were skeptical about the idea of drumming at their regular wellness Wednesday meeting, but quickly got into the swing of it.  How did we turn their attitudes around?

    • Keep it simple – we fail-proof our sessions by meeting people where they’re at and showing them they don’t have to be professional musicians to participate.
    • Give them plenty of chances to laugh – we build fun and playfulness into the sessions without getting too silly (no one wants to be embarrassed in front of their co-workers and supervisors).  The activities we integrate involve friendly interaction and imagination.
    • Divide and conquer – that’s right, sometimes during team-building events we split up the groups so they have a chance to interact in smaller groups.  This eases some of the performance anxiety that sometimes crops up, and gives people a chance to make one-on-one connections that extend beyond the drum circle.

    Takeaways from River City Live

    How did the co-hosts respond to the session?  Also, what stuck out to them that they might want to emphasize in the TV segment?

    • Research – during an interview, we talked about the research behind drumming in corporate settings.  A 2005 study found that drumming can reverse stress at a DNA level. Drumming isn’t just for the hippies and fire dancers; it’s found a place in corporate culture as a way to enhance wellness.
    • Culture – we also discussed my master’s research in West Africa in terms of the cultural differences – the way Africans and Americans participate in musical experiences.  This ‘hands-on’ nature of lots of kinds of West African music allows people to support each other on a deeper level.

    When we set aside our anxieties and concerns and momentarily allow ourselves to be immersed in a rhythmic experience, we’re better equipped to deal with our challenges.  Drumming invites us to attend to our needs while also encouraging us to listen to the needs of those around us.  In a corporate environment, that translates to better teamwork, higher emotional intelligence, and improved leadership and communication skills.

    Who can pass that up?

    To watch the full segment on River City Live, click here.

    Share this:
  • What I learned about community at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (or PASIC) in Indiana.  I presented a workshop on how my study of the drum and dance community in West Africa informed my facilitation style.  Later, I also got to speak on a panel of facilitators about our experience using rhythm as a powerful and adaptable tool.

    As you might expect, I got the chance to meet many knowledgeable people from all over the world – professional musicians, skilled facilitators, educators, students, and simply rhythm enthusiasts.  I attended a variety of sessions hosted by the Interactive Drumming Committee that focused on using rhythm in educational and community settings. 

    The sessions I attended included:

    • A presentation on a facilitator who drums with youth with disabilities within the public schools in his hometown
    • A “melodic conversation” workshop on marimba improv by one of Just Add Rhythm’s facilitators, Brandon Cruz (who runs the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts)
    • An experiential learning workshop focusing on techniques for working with senior adults
    • An interactive presentation on how to use Boomwhackers (once thought to be just for kids) in corporate team-building sessions
    • Several late-night drum circle jam sessions where people got to jump in and facilitate on the fly

    Throughout these sessions, there were a few common themes and takeaways.  Here are some of the most profound messages it would help us all to remember.

    Adapt to the needs of the community or group

    A lot of sessions focused on adapting techniques and exercises for people in certain populations.  How can we take something that works well with children and adapt it to meet the needs of corporate employees?  What skills do drummers have that they can apply to their work with non-musicians?  As facilitators, our number one job is to meet our clients where they are and address their specific needs or problem.  No matter what field you’re in, this is a helpful reminder for all of us – how can we best be of service?

    Encourage, Encourage, Encourage

    Since it was my first time attending the conference, I was a bit nervous to present.  I felt much less experienced than some of the more seasoned facilitators and attendees who seemed to all know each other from the conference every year.  But that didn’t stop anyone from encouraging me.  They came to help me set up for my workshop (and the workshops and presentations of others); they supported students who attended sessions and seemed a little shy; they helped create an inclusive environment at each session to ensure no one felt left out.  This is a community I am proud to be a part of.

    Lead with integrity

    Finally, one of the most profound themes of my experience at the conference was integrity.  Everyone who presented, spoke, and shared their knowledge, particularly within the Interactive Drumming Committee’s sessions, had it in spades.  They were trustworthy, honest, authentic, positive, upbeat, and always in service mode.  These people are role models to the conference newbies like me, and even to the next generation of students younger than me who will be entering the workforce soon.  Above all, they were always willing to share their experience and expertise to the benefit of others. 

    When it was time to come back home I was a bit disappointed.  I had spent 5 days in the “rhythm bubble” with people who really got the awesome gift that is percussion.  I remembered it was our responsibility to continue to be positive role models in our respective communities, always being of service, encouraging, and leading with integrity.  If I do this, I will always be close to my rhythm community.

    Alisha Ramcharitar, owner of Just Add Rhythm, and Greg Whitt, owner of Drum for Change, facilitate a flash jam for passersby between sessions at PASIC 2018 in Indianapolis.

     

     

     

     

    Share this:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign-up to get the latest news straight to your inbox.
SUBSCRIBE!
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
close
Facebook IconYouTube IconTwitter IconJust Add Rhythm on LinkedInJust Add Rhythm on LinkedIn