In my first history of drumming blog post, I looked at the role of drumming in early man and beginning civilisations. I now move forward in time to trace the role of drumming and rhythm around the globe, to show how drumming has evolved alongside our own human development, every step of way.
We love to remind participants in our drumming events that the drumming activity that they are about to take part in is not some strange new idea from California, but instead has been used to unite people as long as recorded human history! So, not only will your team members have great fun, they will be taking part in an event with an unrivalled history involving many different cultures.
As nations and traditions grew around the world, the use of drumming fell into two basic camps of use: as entertainment or as part of religious ceremonies.
There is much documented evidence of drumming in China as early as the eleventh century BC. Furthermore, there are countless references to drumming in the Vedic literature of India between 1500 BC and 600BC. The Bible also mentions the playing of cymbals and a small hand percussion instrument called a Tarbet.
I personally find the variety of sizes, sounds and shapes of drums found throughout history absolutely fascinating. This diversity reflects our human creative nature, and has prompted us to use specially selected drums from many countries in our drumming events – to create a truly global musical amalgamation!
The use of a broad range of drums from across the world promotes a powerful metaphor for globalisation, which our clients highly value. Furthermore, this rich diversity adds more textures to the music compared with only using instruments from one part of the world.
We love it when participants, arriving to find beautiful drums waiting for them, recognise instruments from their own country or tradition.
In any drumming session, our instruments often include African Djembes, Malaysian Klung Yaws, African Djun Djuns, Balinese hand drums and European frame drums.
During the middle ages, the military side drum with sticks came to the fore with armies across the world. Drums were used to keep marching soldiers in step and even to send coded messages! We purposely don’t use sticks with our drums. This is good for our clients’ hands, reduces the volume of the event and allows us to provide participants with the wonderful tactile experience of real hand drumming.
From the eighteenth century, another musical revolution was slowly happening on the other side of the world, as one of the only positive by products of the dreadful shame of slavery. This was the mixing of African people and other rhythmically-advanced people from all over the Americas to create the seeds of Jazz, Rock, World and Dance music, which surround every one of us today!
It is this complex integration of rhythms and styles that has propelled drumming to be the powerful form that it takes in our drumming events. All the discreet historical influences are vital to producing the tangible addictiveness of drumming that we observe every day. This addictiveness, honed over thousands of years, is the critical essence that differentiates drumming from almost any other team building activity, ice breaker or energiser.
In my next, and final, blog post on the history of drumming, I will come right up to date! I will show how drumming and the power of rhythm are crucial to many parts of our lives, and will discuss how drumming is now regularly used in corporate training, team building and unforgettable conference experiences.
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