Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • Drumming in the library – three things you’ll learn

    This summer, you may have noticed lots and lots of posts about our drumming programs in libraries.  Bet you didn’t even know you could drum in a library!

    Our library programs are full of fun and games but they’re also serious business.  Here are three skills we introduced this summer, sneakily disguised amidst all the games:

    Listening skills

    Oh, how important it is to be a skilled listener in life.  It doesn’t matter what your career path is, you have to listen to people every. single. day.  You need to be able to listen carefully and empathetically to family members, friends, clients, customers, supervisors, co-workers, and even strangers (people like to talk to me a lot).

    So in our youth drumming programs, we focus a LOT on listening to others, both musically and verbally speaking.  Participants learn to listen to the rhythms they’re playing and determine whether their part is blending with the rest of the group, or whether it needs to be adjusted – a good lesson to learn at any age.  They also learn to listen to others’ comments and ideas, and give them careful consideration – will the idea work?  will it sound good?  will everyone be able to easily follow along?

    By listening carefully to others, we learn to keep an open mind and heart.  We show respect, empathy, compassion, and encouragement.

    Leadership skills

    It’s important for kids to have multiple meaningful opportunities to be a leader throughout their childhoods.  During our drumming programs, we offer plenty of opportunities to lead the group in various ways:

    1. Leading the group in start and stop cues
    2. Leading the group in volume cues (i.e., how loud or soft to play)
    3. Dividing groups into smaller groups and deciding when each should play
    4. Assuming a leadership role in games that include props such as a ball, rubber duck, plastic spot, or cards

    Being a leader helps empower kids, making them feel confident, and encouraging them to set up the group for success through clear signals and directions.

    Communication skills

    Communication goes hand in hand with listening and leadership, but it’s so important I decided it needed to be its own category.  During each part of the drumming program, we focus on both verbal and non-verbal communication.  At the beginning when we talk about the benefits of drumming, kids learn to share their ideas and listen to others’ ideas.  And then at the end, we reiterate that by reviewing the physical and mental benefits of drumming.

    Kids also get multiple opportunities to share their feelings, memories and experiences throughout the program – both through speaking as well as drumming.

    Because a bulk of the program is the drum jam which can be sound-intense, we emphasize the importance of participants communicating with each other through non-verbal cues and hand signals.  This demonstrates a variety of communication techniques to kids which can be beneficial to their development.

    See it in action

    Check out jam sessions from some of our libraries this summer!

    Drumming at the Jax Makerspace

    Drumming at the Bunnell Library in Palm Coast, FL

    Drumming at the Satilla Regional Library in Douglas, GA

    Drumming at the Millhopper Library in Gainesville, FL

    Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more pictures and videos from summer!

    Want to learn more about our educational programs for school, after-school, and camp settings?  Check out our programs here, and contact us today!

  • Team-building fun with non-profit Angelwood Jax!

    Team-building and wellness – these are the top two objectives Just Add Rhythm focuses on whenever we facilitate a rhythm event.

    So the employees of Angelwood, a Jacksonville-based non-profit, were in for a treat.  They experienced an hour of connection, stress management, and teamwork during their staff training day.

    Angelwood “assists families in caring for the special needs of their loved ones through a variety of programs suited to each person’s individual goals.”  They offer residential- and community-based programs to help each person live his or her best life.

    That’s why I felt a strong connection to their mission and vision. We’re all about helping people live their best lives!

    Check out the pictures below and watch the video clip of one of the energy-charged activities on our YouTube channel!

    The process

    Just Add Rhythm has a 5-step process to ensure we’re helping our clients reach their objectives through rhythm:

    1. Drumroll – smiles & laughter
    2. Relax & refresh – wellness exercises and stretching
    3. Chatter – learning to communicate & listen using drums
    4. Drum jam – create some groovy beats together!
    5. Creating connections – rhythmic games & partner convos to solidify concepts

    Highlights

    Participants commented after the workshop what they took away from it, including:

    • “It’s important to breathe”
    • “People working together can sound as one”
    • “It is remarkable what a strong leader can do even with people who are very different”

    Putting it into action

    At the end of each team-building session, I invite participants to partner up and discuss what they learned, and how they will apply it to their work and/or personal lives.  And that is always my challenge to the group – take action!  Empower yourself to be compassionate, to listen deeply to others, to take care of yourself, and to listen to yourself.

    We’d love to drum with your group!  Reach out to us for a brief consult!

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  • 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!

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