Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • 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.

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  • A stress reduction icebreaker for the Bridge to Business event

    You have to give a presentation in a half hour that highlights your business, your value proposition, and everything you’ve been working toward.  Judges from local companies will be evaluating your pitch and deciding if they’d like to do business with you.  So how are you feeling?  Need a little stress reduction?

    If you answered stressed or anxious, you’d be in good company.  On November 13th, about 60 small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Jax Chamber’s Jax Bridges program had the opportunity to pitch – and many of them were a ball of nerves.

    So what did we do?  Well, a drum circle, of course!  Just Add Rhythm brought the drums to shake out the nerves and get people feeling relaxed and confident in their ability.  Want some stress reduction before your next big event?  Here are some benefits the participants experienced:

    Stress reduction

    Well, duh – that was the main goal!  But why was it effective?  Because it got the participants out of their heads and into their bodies.  When you’re playing a drum, you need to be fully present and in the moment – no looking at your phone or glancing at your note cards one more time.  You focus on the task at hand and keep the beat with those around you.  This usually helps distract participants from their nerves.

    Empathy

    Speaking of distraction, when we start looking around us and matching our beats with that of others, we start to listen more deeply to the sound being created.  Then we start to figure out what others need from us – what we have to contribute to the sound of the whole group.  This helps a lot with the stress reduction as a result.

    Physical activity

    Lastly, we knew we’d be sitting down listening to everyone’s pitches for a good two or more hours.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get in some movement before then?  To warm up our bodies, feel comfortable in our skin, and practice our confident postures?

    By the time the pitches began, everyone was more calm, cool and collected.  Half of us went in one room to pitch to half the judges, the other half in the other room.  In my room, right before we began, someone asked if I could play my drum again to help calm the nerves.  We laughed, we cheered for each other, and we all went up and crushed it.

    Is your group or team doing a presentation and would like some help quelling the nerves before the big event?  Contact us to talk about a stress reduction icebreaker!

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  • An Afternoon of Teamwork and Energizing Activities at the Mayo Clinic

    An Afternoon of Teamwork and Energizing Activities at the Mayo Clinic

    We love to work with professionals on teambuilding and teamwork activities. On November 10th, we drummed at the Humanities in Medicine Symposium event hosted by the Mayo Clinic. The aim of this symposium was to showcase:

    • The impact of arts and humanities programs on patient outcomes and quality of care
    • Innovative and unique arts in healthcare programs in the context of academic research
    • The role of the arts and humanities in medical education core competencies and wellness of healthcare practitioner

    The drumming session was a post-lunch energizer that focused on fun teamwork activities.  We also highlighted some of the themes of the day and what people were taking away from all the sessions they had attended.  During the event, we were able to tackle quite a few of our favorite drumming and teamwork activities including….

    Drum Jam Teamwork Activity

    We had a drum jam where we played the rhythm of our heartbeats. We also created rhythms about key takeaways the attendees got from their earlier morning sessions. One attendee mentioned the importance of reflecting on and sharing one’s unique story. 

    Rumble Ball Teamwork Activity

    Next we played a rhythm game called Rumble Ball to demonstrate the accessibility of rhythm to all ages and populations.  The facilitator throws a ball in the air and while it’s airborne, everyone rumbles on their drums.  When the facilitator catches it, everyone stops.  With a high ceiling, you can throw really high and get some energetic rumbles.  Participants took turns being the leader and creating rhythm patterns with the starts and stops of the rumbles. 

    Rhythmic Breathing

     Finally we ended with a relaxing rhythmic breathing exercise, one of our favorites to share.  It encourages participants to align their breathing with a gentle but rapid tapping on their laps to take deep, mindful breaths.  It slows the heart rate and helps relax and re-energize.

    Outcomes of the Teamwork Activities

    One person commented they felt “comfortable but energized” at the end of the exercise.  Another person commented, “what was most powerful was that the session allowed collective energy coming together and also autonomy.”  This is our aim with rhythm experiences – participants discover their connection with others around them while also empowering themselves to discover the rhythm within!

     

    How can we add rhythm to energize your conference or event? We would love to partner with you. Contact Us Today!   You can learn more about the Mayo Clinic in Florida HERE and to learn more about the symposium you can click HERE

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