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Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • May is Mental Health Month – let’s start drumming for wellness

    Taking care of your mental health is an ongoing process.  Many people hear the term “mental health” and they conjure up images of psychiatrists, medications, and even acts of violence that have been in the news.

    Mental health is so much more than that.

    • It’s adding 5 or 10 minutes into your day for some quiet reflection time.
    • It’s being willing to say “no” to requests once in awhile when you feel overwhelmed.
    • It’s recognizing personal limits and boundaries and making sure others respect them.
    • It’s finding opportunities to smile, laugh, sing, dance, and be silly with others.

    Wait…being silly is part of our mental health?

    Heck yeah it is!  As adults, we tend to lose the playfulness that was so inherent during our childhood – it’s no longer acceptable to sing out loud, skip around in a circle, or play hide and seek (unless you have a kid).  But having opportunities to be playful and silly boosts our creativity, and science backs this up.

    Drumming & mental health

    SO. MUCH. RESEARCH. Has been done in the past several decades about the connections between drumming, thought patterns, and mental health.

    If you want to know which populations can benefit from drumming programs, it might be better to ask which population hasn’t been studied yet – veterans, corporate employees, senior citizens, at-risk adolescents, adults in recovery, nursing students, school children – all have experienced the benefits of rhythm, and scientists have written about it.

    What rhythm can do for you

    Let’s go back to silliness.  As advances in technology bring us closer together, so too do they have the ability to isolate us.  Seeking out activities where we can directly with one another becomes more and more important, and connection often means bringing out that inner child.

    Drumming has this amazing ability to bring out our inner child, and to encourage us to interact with each other in simple, uncomplicated ways – a smile, a thumbs up, a whoop of encouragement – anything more would get lost in the roar of the drums.

    In addition, drumming helps our mental health in other ways:

    • it improves our ability to focus and concentrate on a task
    • it increases our memory capacity to help stave off dementia as we age
    • it enhances our problem-solving capabilities by encouraging creative expression

    The bottom line

    We need to take care of our mental health just as much as our physical health, and drumming offers a proven way to do it.  Do you want to help your organization connect better through rhythm?  Give us a call!

  • This St. Patrick’s Day, pick up a drum instead of a green beer

    It’s St. Patty’s Day again – time for shamrocks, the luck o’ the Irish, and a sudden interest in Celtic music and drumming.  But this year, instead of picking up a green beer and toasting your health, why not try picking up a drum instead?  You don’t have to know how to play the Irish bodhran to experience the health benefits of drums.

    Here are a few reasons to drum for your health this year.

    Unlike green beer, drums can help banish bloating

    Listen, who hasn’t experienced the occasional digestive issue?  But I’m talking stress-related issues here – those tummy problems that arise when you’re under lots of stress and experiencing anxiety.

    Drumming can play a big part in helping the mind and body to relax, which can reduce those pesky digestive issues.  When you’re stressed, that stomachache gets worse, right?  Well, when you’re relaxed, the opposite happens – the pain subsides.  Drumming focuses your mental energy and invites you to stay in the moment, forgetting the stress – and being able to better handle it later on.

    Take it from someone with lifelong digestive issues – you will banish that stress bloat!

    No luck needed – it’s science!

    You don’t need the luck o’ the Irish to get healthy.  You simply need to incorporate rhythm into your daily life on a personal level.  Take a look at this study on the health-related effects of stress, and how drumming helps combat them – stress plays a role in cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and more.

    Adding rhythm to your daily life adds more presence and mindfulness, which better equips us to deal with life’s challenges.  Drum on your steering wheel on the way to work, dance around to your favorite song while preparing dinner, or try this simple rhythmic breathing exercise before bed.

    Surround yourself with a supportive community

    Sure, you can find community in a bar on St. Patty’s Day, but you can also find it when a group of people share a common interest, like drumming.  As more and more research emerges about the links between social isolation and depression, it becomes increasingly important to offer more easy opportunities for people to make connections.

    Drumming is the rock star of community and togetherness – creating rhythms as a group encourages people to support each other and work toward an aesthetically pleasing musical outcome.

     

    In other words…

    Pick up a drum for your health today.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a bodhran, an infamous bongo (that name that many people like to call all drums), or just you and your steering wheel in the car (no, it doesn’t have to be this crazy!).  Your body will thank you.

    Join us for our upcoming live workshops to experience the drumming fun for yourself!  Group discounts are available!

  • Three things the Olympics taught us about life

    Every year, the world goes all atwitter over an international sports event.  This year, it’s the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.  Suddenly, sports most of us rarely give thought to are in the forefront.  We find ourselves becoming sudden fans of bobsledding, figure skating, and skiing.

    As fraught with sensationalism, drama, and heartbreak as these events may be, they have a lot to teach us about life.  Similarly, these are also lessons I’ve learned over the years as a drummer and drum circle facilitator.

    Trust and authenticity are absolutely paramount.

    Did you see Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s gold medal-winning ice dance routine?  Even if you’re not a fan of ice dance, you can’t help but be captivated by their charisma and energy on the ice.

    I can’t even imagine the level of trust required for this type of event; you’re literally putting your life in someone else’s hands day in and day out.

    Do you want to be seen as trustworthy in your line of business?  People trust you when they know you, and people do business with those they trust.

    The best way to be trustworthy?  Be you – unequivocally you.  When you’re your authentic self, and you highlight your strengths (and accept your weaknesses), people will get to know and trust the real you.

    I know that as a facilitator, my strengths are my extensive music and dance background, as well as my energy and playfulness.  When I play to those strengths when facilitating a session, I know people will see the real me, and trust me to guide them through a memorable and valuable experience.

    Repetition, repetition, repetition.  Repeat.

    As a musician and a drum circle facilitator, I’m familiar with the concept of practice makes perfect.  Just as Olympic athletes need to run a course or routine (or simply a specific component) over and over again, we musicians need to develop a similar type of muscle memory when playing.

    Guess what? It comes in handy in other instances, too.

    Giving a presentation?  Better make sure you know your speech, your slides, and even your dramatic pauses backward and forward.

    Getting a certification to bump up your pay grade?  The more you go over the material with study groups and practice exams, the more confident you’ll be on exam day.

    Humans are creatures of habit.  Once we establish a nice flow state, we tend to notice that things are a little less stressful.

    How you communicate may be the difference between success and failure.

    As I watched the Olympic events that rely on teams and partners, I often wondered about how well those teams communicated among themselves.

    From the first Nigerian women’s bobsled team to the Knierim-Knierim figure skating pair who failed to medal but won the hearts of Americans, it’s clear that communication is key when you rely on each other to get the job done.  Whether that job is lifting a skater through a series of flips and catches, or working with a team to complete a project for a client, how well you communicate with each other determines your level of success.

    When I facilitate rhythm events, I introduce simple methods of non-verbal communication, first between the participants and me, and then among the participants themselves.  As the facilitator, my job is to introduce these simple tools, encourage the participants to recognize them, and then further, encourage them to utilize them with each other during the drumming.

    Typically, a breakdown in this communication means a breakdown on the rhythm.  When the tools work, we sound better, and we’re more in tune with each other’s strength and challenges – and better able to support the group.

    To sum it up

    So, thanks, Olympics.  Thanks for reminding us every other year that we need to get off our you-know-what’s and make a difference in our lives – whether it’s athletic or work-related.  Thanks for highlighting those skills and disciplines that we need to hone so we can excel, and to nudge ourselves to be our very best.

    Want to learn how to utilize rhythm to help your organization or team function at its best?  Get in touch with us!

    Curious about rhythm and how it can help you relax and re-focus?  Check out our upcoming events in Jax.

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