We are often asked by potential clients, “What does a drumming event actually entail?” They obviously know that it includes playing drums, but they are interested to know how we use the time and how we keep everyone entertained. In this blog, I describe the ‘anatomy’ of a DrumPulse drumming event!
Without any doubt, our unique format for drumming events is what sets us apart from our direct competitors and, looking further afield, sets this activity apart from most other team building options. If you’re worried that your team will be drumming until their arms drop off, you don’t need to panic. No one would ever come back to us if we just thumped drums for two hours and sent everyone away with sore hands!
Whilst every group is different and there is lots of room for flexibility in every event we provide, our trained facilitators remain focused on the end goal. This is to ensure that everyone leaves our events smiling and in disbelief about what they have achieved as part of a united drumming orchestra.
We deliver drumming activities from ten minutes long up to to all-day sessions. I will describe a typical drumming event of about 90 minutes duration.
I must warn you that, when you see this written down, it looks very structured and methodical. However, you must remember that participants never sense this. Through the skills of our facilitators, our drumming events are always built around creativity and fun and just flow naturally from beginning to end.
First things first, we have many introduction options to give clients the optimum way of starting their event. Once the surprise beginning is over, everyone is sitting with a beautiful drum in front of them.
We always start with a quick rhythmical energiser before actually touching a drum! This could be a clapping or body percussion warm up, and serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it gets participants to relax and ‘sense’ the environment as safe and playful. Secondly, it allows participants to get to understand the personality of the facilitator. Finally, it allows the facilitator to quickly get a feeling for the group’s overall rhythmic and engagement levels. This is vital in going forward, as from the group’s early reaction, our facilitator can modify the facilitation style to best suit the group.
Following on from the energiser, members of our fledgling drumming orchestra now quickly learn how to hold, sit and play the actual instruments. With great care taken with regard to hand safety, our expert facilitator explains how to bring out the various tones and effects from within the drum. Participants learn to react with lighting speed and group accuracy on the facilitator’s command. The first time that they all stop together as a powerful unit, there are always rows of wide eyes and smiles!
Now that the basics are dealt with, we go straight into putting together a performance. Slowly but surely, the confidence of the group grows and participants begin to support the people around them. There are never complicated rhythm patterns to master. We only use easily accessible rhythm parts (or ‘rhythm departments’, as we describe them), which, when combined as a whole, create intricate layers of sound.
We normally have four to five different ‘rhythm departments’ all working together, each with a specific role. Intention, focus and attitude are all important attributes for participants to master, providing perfect team and business analogies. We add to our impressive beginnings with different interactive sections, including an introduction, solos and finale.
By this point, we have a powerful ensemble capable of performing their newly-learned piece. This in itself is very impressive, but we want to take the team to a higher level! In a specially-facilitated section, we guide the orchestra to begin to actively augment their drumming roles by including their very own ideas. This becomes a very powerful and inspirational moment because the team instinctively composes ‘in-the-moment music’ that is totally personal to the group, department or even the entire company.
Next on our journey, our budding drum masters are given a group listening exercise, which is often regarded as the highlight of the day. We call this very special section our ‘perception shift’. The group, now fully comfortable with improvising and being led by our facilitators, experience listening and perceiving the music they are creating on a totally new level.
All that is left to do is to bring all the elements of the entire session together for an emotional finale. Everything that has been learned goes into this amazing and motivating farewell performance.
The entire format of our drumming events has been designed to challenge, enlighten and constantly surprise individuals. This is done as one fluid and totally entertaining package, to leave your group completely amazed.
Drumming as a group never fails to be a profound and revealing experience, at a team and individual level, and really helps to bring teams together. The countless metaphors and parallels with business are obvious but never overbearing.
The pace we achieve in teaching our groups how to physically play and listen, the subtle way we introduce musical situations as business metaphors and the way we lead each group to perform well beyond their expectations have taken many years to perfect.
For more information, please contact us.
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