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Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • 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.

  • So you want to buy a drum – 3 simple tips

    A drum in every home

    People often ask me what kind of drum to buy after a really great workshop or session (or, they ask me if all those drums are mine, and how do I fit them in my car!).

    Babatunde Olatunji, a Nigerian drummer and educator who was responsible for introducing many people in the western world to the joy of drumming, once said in the future there would be a drum in every home.

    We’re not quite there yet – but we’re getting there.

    As music becomes easier and easier to listen to in the digital world, I think it becomes more and more important to ensure people still want to actually play instruments.  But, our culture tends to place more importance on perfecting technique on an instrument, over simply enjoying it.  That’s where drums come in.  Here are 3 simple reasons why you should buy a drum!

    Drums are so easy to buy

    No longer do you need to find a specialty music store in your area.  While you can certainly do that, chances are they won’t have a wide selection of drums that aren’t drum kits.   Three of my go-to websites for drum-buying are Amazon, West Music, and X8 Drums.

    I just recently had the honor of becoming a Remo Endorsed Drum Circle Facilitator.  Remo is a world-renowned percussion company that not only manufactures and sells top-quality products for professional and amateur drummers and facilitators, but also has its own evidence-based protocol (called HealthRHYTHMS®).  Over the years as a facilitator, I’ve had ample time to try out a variety of drums and hone my kit that I utilize for gigs.  Remo consistently makes dependable drums, and what’s more, many of them are versatile, lightweight, and practical.

    Some of my favorites for individual playing are:

    You don’t have to really know what you’re doing to enjoy it (although it helps!)

    While I believe strongly that drumming is an acquired skill just as any other instrument, and drummers work really hard at their craft, that doesn’t mean non-musicians can’t also have fun with drums.

    You can certainly find a recreational drum circle in your area, or a drum class for beginners, but you can also drum in your home.  Jim Donovan and Christine Stevens are two excellent and highly skilled facilitators and musicians who share simple how-to videos on their YouTube channels.  You can view videos on drumming from the heart, creating your own rhythms, and culture-specific rhythms and techniques.

    You’ll experience deep, in-the-moment mindfulness

    Drumming requires us to utilize both sides of our brains, much like swimming.  Because of that, we experience periods of deep relaxation while also feeling energized.  We clear our heads temporarily of the clutter that fills our day and causes stress.  And we learn to listen carefully, breathe deeply, and just be.

    So, dive in and get started!  Buy a drum, find a class, or simply venture online and find some inspiration.  Or, if you’d like to bring rhythm to your organization, give us a call today!

  • Corporate wellness programs – better health equals better bottom line

    Companies are turning to corporate wellness programs to improve their employees’ health as well as their own bottom line.  It’s a win-win situation, and the cycle feeds itself – when employees are healthy and happy, their productivity goes up, which means reducing turnover costs for the company, and potentially earning them more money.

    Corporate wellness research

    Edelman Intelligence did a meta-analysis of corporate studies in 2016.  As reported in Natural Awakenings’ January 2018 edition:  “corporate wellness programs are linked to a 25% reduction in absenteeism and sick leave, 25% reduction in health costs and 32% reduction in workers compensation and disability costs.”

    Some areas of focus in the study included:

    • mental and physical benefits of meditation
    • “digital detox” from everyday technologies, including a “Be Unplugged” optional program at the Quincy Hotel in Washington, D.C.
    • adult play and re-discovering your inner child
    • the concept of food as medicine
    • being well where you are, including things like hotel yoga classes and airport farmer’s markets

    You can read more about it here.

    Drumming to unplug and discover your inner child

    Corporate drum circles and rhythm-based events are now not only for team-building, but also encouraging personal wellness.  Drumming is a natural way to get people to unplug, because you can’t hold your phone while playing a drum (and you most certainly can’t talk on a phone over the joyful noise of the drumming).  Also, drumming provides such a mental workout that your brain naturally puts aside those anxious or scattered thoughts and to-do lists, and focuses on the task at hand (pun intended).

     

    Additionally, drumming is a great way to bring out your inner child.  Forget “adult coloring books;” drumming fosters creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and stress reduction all in a single session.  Research shows that weekly or regular group empowerment drumming sessions provide these benefits in the long-term.  One study conducted by Remo HealthRHYTHMS(R) even concluded that regular sessions boosted immunity by increasing natural killer (NK) cell activity (just as they sound – cells able to bind to certain virus-infected cells and kill them).

    How implement it

    Companies can implement drumming programs in a variety of ways, including:

    • weekly stress reduction drumming sessions after work
    • daily or weekly lunchtime programs
    • monthly workshops focused on certain topics – reducing stress, improving communication, finding more joy and intent in daily life
    • one-time or regular team-building sessions for certain departments
    • one-time or multi-session change management workshops during a challenging transition
    • a workshop at a conference other large event

    Let’s get started!

    Whatever way you feel is best for your company’s employees and culture, we’ll help you implement it with ease and purpose.  Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation!