They say that team-building was the ropes course in the 80s, office foosball in the 90s, and now drum circles for the new millennium and beyond! And really, it makes perfect sense because drumming is accessible no matter the level of physical fitness, drumming is intergenerational, and drumming cuts straight through language and cultural barriers. For larger corporate events, drumming brings the engineer, marketer, administrator, management team, and the rest of the departments together working towards the same goal.
Our last drum circle at Qualcomm, Inc. took place during lunch at a community event called QSOL (Qualcomm Summers on the Lawn). My colleague, the very talented special guest facilitator Dayna Koehn co-facilitated the event. The relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful lawn, and the BBQ offered a casual, fun, and entertaining opportunity for employees to make music together and build the community.
Drumming is at the core of our very existence. People drum because we are biologically programmed to do so! Language is rhythm, breathing is rhythm, walking is rhythm. Drumming connects us to our bodies, minds, and spirits, then opens up space for creative thinking and a new perspective.
Research shows that drum circles and active music-making prevent burnout and enhance physical and emotional well-being. As a Remo Endorsed Facilitator, I and my team tailor this vibrant experience to the following needs: leadership development, efficiency in communication, increased productivity, stress-management skills, community building, and/or diversity training.
The purpose of the QSOL event was community building within the company. And the drumming component fit right into the equation. Participants looked around at each other, smiled and said “Man, now I’ve let it out!” and “Mm, I feel good.”
At QSOL, it wasn’t only the employees who reaped the benefits of making music. In addition, kids of Qualcomm employees came up to explore all the different instruments from around the world.
Opher Bonarie, head of the Qualcomm community hand drumming club, stated “”Kat Fulton and the staff from Sound Health Music made it possible to offer a casual event that even first-time drummers enjoyed tremendously. The feedback was 100% positive, with several people asking when we can repeat it. I hope to be working on future projects with Kat for many years to come.”
Qualcomm + Drums = Community.
Needs: Community building
Interventions: Active music-making, chanting, movement, drum call, sculpting and shaping the circle
Outcomes: Smiles, laughter, connection among co-workers via eye contact, rhythmic entrainment among co-workers via physical movement and sound, and positive statements about individual talent