The Drum Cafe Experience
An empowering, unifying, and uplifting experience is what conference attendees were a part of when musical motivator Drum Cafe kicked off the Training2012 Conference & Expo in Atlanta February 13-15.
Working in unison with Conference Sensei Tony O’Driscoll, executive director of the Center for Technology, Entertainment and Media (CTEM) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, international corporate experience and teambuilding leader Drum Café opened the conference with a performance that shattered inhibitions and enabled all 2,000-plus attendees at the opening General Session Keynote to come together and drive human performance to its maximum potential as One Tribe, on One Powerful Beat.
“Today, the name of the game in business is collaborative co-creation,” says Professor O’Driscoll. “I can think of no other experience that viscerally conveys what that is all about one where more than 2,000 people create wonderfully nuanced percussive sounds together. Drum Cafe provides the perfect incubation experience through facilitated group drumming to ignite human potential.”
With the heart of the conference focused on “leveraging human capital to drive business results,” Alain Eagles, owner of Drum Cafe, led the event with an experience that enabled everyone to make the most of the idea—inspiring discussion and helping to awaken the enthusiasm and motivation needed to show others how to enhance human performance.
“We launched Drum Cafe with one purpose—to bring people together,” explains Jo-Ann Radus-Eagles, co‐owner of Drum Cafe. “We were thrilled to be a part of this event and to team up with Tony and the Trainingmanagement team.”
Everyone Gets a Drum
What exactly does Drum Cafe “do”? Each participant receives an African drum, and with exacting instruction by Drum Cafe’s skilled facilitators, effortlessly—almost magically—a group is transformed into a melodic percussive orchestra. Each experience is unique and cannot easily be described in words. At the keynote, all those drums drumming in unison was a powerful experience. This experience will foster cohesiveness, purpose, and leadership.”
The flagship Drum Interactive program does not “teach’” a concept, but rather allows people to have the experience of drumming together. Throughout the program, Drum Cafe debriefs the concepts and allows the participants to extrapolate the learnings.
The program demands that participants utilize both left and right brain functions. Drumming uses a logical, practical approach in that you are taught different structured rhythms and notes that require a focused application. However, once you have learned these basics, participants are encouraged to express themselves creatively through rhythm and dance, which enhances right brain function. Drum Cafe clients often find that after a Drum Cafe experience, participants are more susceptible to taking in new information and concepts. This, Drum Cafe surmises, is due to the fact that participants have engaged in a new and challenging activity that simply by participating in has made them—both as individuals and as a group—grow beyond their preconceived limitations.
Drumming has been likened to meditation—when you are immersed in the rhythm, nothing exists but the present moment. The use of powerful rhythms, world-class musicians, and a cultural immersion experience enables participants to “lose” themselves in the music, and sometimes for the first time since they were a child, to be 100 percent in the “now.” It allows them to take a “mental vacation” that is not only a great stress reliever but also can unleash incredible genius and creativity.
Relationships are built and deepened when people have unique, memorable experiences together. Participants remember a Drum Cafe event for a long time. When you make music in a group together, a different side of you is revealed—you express yourself in a more authentic way, and your co-workers can relate to you in a different way. Drum Cafe had a manager thank it for allowing her to “let her hair down” in front of her employees. She explained how at work she had struggled to create bonds with her employees as her managerial position had kept her distant. She said that after the Drum Cafe experience, her relationships improved significantly and there was a much more relaxed atmosphere at the workplace, which benefited her team enormously.
In today’s high-pressure modern society, we spend more time at work than anywhere else. The workplace relationships are some of the most significant and influential in our lives. People respond well to being recognized, not only for what they do but for who they are. The Drum Cafe experience provides corporate teams an opportunity in a “safe and supported space” to get to know each other, to express themselves, and to relieve the stress of modern business, which is so fast paced, technology based, and lacking the human elementin many cases.
Drumming has been used in many cultures for centuries to break down barriers, to unify a family or community group, to communicate key messages, and to celebrate big events. Drum Cafe is a global organization that applies this ancient tool through a formatted event to effect change within organizations. “We break down barriers between people and silos. We demonstrate through the experience of becoming a percussive orchestra, how each individual’s contribution adds up to creating a powerful whole, and how each contribution is a vital component to creating the overall success of the group,” says Radus-Eagles.
In the words of recent client Miranda Porter, Ph.D., executive director, CNS Clinical Operations, INC Research: “The Drum Cafe experience was unique and powerful because it was at one time visceral, tactile, cognitive, and emotional. The team felt the energy ... delivered on our pre-event discussion regarding the underlying message andalso the concrete details of our group. That messaging got them thinking, and they also felt ‘known’/’understood by the fact that someone took the time to incorporate the details of their work life/dynamic into the event. I think our success in our business meeting on Friday (and it was more successful than I imagined was possible) was, in part, due to the teambuilding the night before.”