Diversity and unity were at the heart of the University of North Florida’s International Day of Peace event on September 21st, 2018. Here are some activities we focused on for our drumming session.
Highlight our common ground and diversity
We started off with a short activity called “Rumble If.” The facilitator (or a participant) asks a yes or no question. If the answer is yes, participants rumble (play a drum roll) on their drums. I always say this is an excellent way for the group to get to know one another and break the ice. We find out things we have in common and what makes us unique.
For example, some questions highlighting diversity and inclusion might include:
- Rumble if you’re originally from Florida
- Rumble if you were born in another state/country
- Rumble if you’re a vegetarian
- Rumble if you have any brothers or sisters
- Rumble if you’re the oldest/youngest in your family
- Rumble if you’ve experienced any stress this week
- Rumble if you’re a Jags (insert city-specific sports team here) fan
Next, we did something called Rhythm Naming. I invited participants to think of a focus word or goal for the session, or for the rest of the day. They could focus on a word or phrase such as “reducing stress” or “meeting new people.” After deciding on a word, each person played a representation of that word on their drum.
People chose phrases such as “peace on earth,” “love is a language,” “smile,” and “go away stress!” And, the rhythms they played on the drum to represent those words showed off their creativity.
The universal heartbeat
After that, we got into the meat and potatoes of the session – the drum jam. The jam is the opportunity for participants to really tap into their creative side and also tune into the others in their group. We encourage everyone to “play whatever you want as long as it makes us sound good!” We achieve that by listening to others and figuring out how our rhythm fits in with others’. But first, we started off with a heartbeat – playing the rhythm of our hearts (“lub-dub” or “boom boom”) and gradually adding in other sounds to explore the rhythm further. Playing this rhythm solidifies the theme of commonality – we’re all human, we all have a heartbeat, no matter who we are or what we believe.
Pieces of 8
Finally, this little game allowed us the chance to see how the rhythm changed the more sounds we added to it. Participants started off by choosing a number between 1 and 8 (everyone chose their own number), and then they played one “boom” every time they heard their number during the counting aloud. Then, they chose two numbers to play during the 8-number cycle, doubling the sound that we heard. Afterward, we talked about what it meant to contribute (even in some small way) to the outcome of the whole.
We ended the session with a “pair and share,” an opportunity to people to partner up and talk about their favorite parts and takeaways.
Would you like to offer a unifying drum circle to your group or organization? Get in touch with us!