Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • 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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  • Diversity, peace, and unity – drumming at the University of North Florida

    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

    Set intentions

    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!

     

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  • 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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