Learning a new skill alongside other team members can be challenging, particularly for senior managers surrounded by their subordinates. As adults, once we leave school or university, few of us find ourselves in a group learning situation.
The beauty of our drumming workshop experience is that learning happens subconsciously while participants have a hilarious time with each other and our highly-entertaining facilitators. I believe that this ‘learning without learning’ is one of the secrets of our success.
A few weeks ago, a participant came up to chat after the drumming workshop. She was herself a corporate trainer and just wanted to thank us for the revealing experience of having to learn a new skill. This wasn’t because she intended to begin a new career as a musician, but because it gave her a fresh perspective on what it’s like being in the student or learning position.
We have purposely added many interactive and comedic sections to our drumming workshops to take the emphasis away from ‘learning how to drum’ to making the group feel safe, entertained and open to new ideas. This allows us to take them much further along their musical and learning journey.
We understand the insecurities and baggage we all bring to understanding new and challenging subjects that seem way out of our comfort zone, and the tendency for people to gravitate to the things they are comfortable with.
We also understand that people all learn differently. Some prefer aural, visual or kinaesthetic approaches to taking in new information. There are also significant differences between participants in the pace of absorbing new ideas.
There are several aspects to master in a drumming workshop, which ultimately makes the activity so rewarding. Right from the start, participants have to learn to sit and position themselves around the instrument. Next is playing it correctly and getting the different tones from the instrument. Getting hands in the right places at the right times can become a mathematical conundrum for some, and yet can be as natural as walking for others.
One of the most interesting aspects of a drumming workshop, which substantially helps the learning process, is the melting away of existing organisational hierarchies, benefiting senior managers and those less senior.
You may be the CEO of the corporation, with great responsibility for thousands of employees, but you may find yourself sitting next to a brand new intern in one of our drumming workshops. I have seen it hundreds of times where directors and senior managers have to look to their subordinates around them for hints, help and advice to keep up with this new learning group challenge. Their positive reaction to this sudden loss of hierarchy is a mark of their leadership and humility.
Conversely, our natural drummers (but nervous interns) have to find new confidence and strength to turn to and help their needy, but more senior, neighbours.
We believe that we take participants much further along their musical and learning journey by allowing them to input their own ideas rather than just playing what everyone else is around them. When musicians play, whether seasoned professionals or participants in a drumming workshop, they are expressing everything they know, how they feel and their intention in that moment. This is revealing and very personal. An individual’s level of ability is irrelevant. Simply by participating, people are in the hallowed act of creativity. This is the magic of music or any creative art.
So what do participants get from our creative drumming workshops? They get an unmatched feeling of self satisfaction and personal achievement. I see this permeating the group as individual participants realise that they are contributing ideas of their own choosing into an overall performance that sounds coherent and totally unique. This is a very empowering moment. As part of the process, participants learn to stop and listen to (and appreciate) what’s going on around them. They learn to choose what will be of benefit for the group as a whole. They learn how they can support and inspire people around them. Finally, they learn never to underestimate the potential of their group.
These are crucial attributes to effective working teams, in music or business.
For more information, please contact us.