If someone would have told me that I’d relate drumming to asparagus, I’d have thought “well, that’s a reach!” But it’s true—and not such a reach. Both were foreign and quite daunting to one good friend of mine; this is the story of her overcoming two very different but similar fears.
I had an old friend visit me from out of town recently. We had not seen each other in many years and it was great to get caught up. She was asking me about my business and the work that I do. I was explaining to her the power of drumming and how it profoundly impacted the various companies we work with. Having never drummed before, she was somewhat unclear about the success Drum Cafe experiences with our corporate drumming programs and the huge impact we are able to achieve through drumming. It is often challenging to “describe the vibe” so-to-speak, because what we do is such a kinesthetic, experiential kind of encounter. So, I decided to bring her along to an event later that week so she could get a clear idea of what I was talking about.
Her first night with me, I invited her to a dinner party I was due to attend. I was somewhat hesitant because she has a fierce reputation as an enormously picky eater. It is not that she is a connoisseur of gourmet food, but rather a junk food junkie. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen her eat a vegetable. The particular friend that was holding the dinner party is well known for creating delicious healthy fare. As delicious as it is touted to be, I knew my friend would turn her nose up to anything green or healthy simply because of her preconceived notions about this type of food. But, since she was staying with me, I was somewhat obligated. I explained to her that the food would most likely be on the healthy side. She was game and off we went for our foodie escapade.
As we sat down to dinner, I could see a sense of relief on her face as there were several items on the table that she clearly felt comfortable eating. At one point, our hostess, whom she had never met before, offered her some asparagus. The look of peace on her face soon transformed into terror; she did not want to insult the hostess and reluctantly piled a few spears onto her plate. Knowing she could not stop at simply accepting the offer, she took her first bite of what she thought would taste so bad that she might need to spit it out. Watching her through this process was actually quite entertaining. But what happened next truly astounded me. w
I was absolutely amazed to see that she actually liked what she was eating! One bite turned into another after another and even a second helping. My finicky friend later shared with me that she actually never tried asparagus before. She simply assumed it would taste bad because it was a vegetable and avoided it solely on this classification. Her willingness to try something new, or more accurately her desire not to disappoint the hostess and feel like an idiot, had opened her awareness to new opportunities and adventures in food. That one small step led to many others and a much more balanced, healthy diet for my friend.
A few days later she accompanied me to a Drum Cafe West event that I was facilitating for an organization’s product launch. Once again, her skepticism showed up and she was asking me questions like, “Is this going to be a wild hippy drum circle?” I laughed at the vision she must have had in her head. I assured her this was not going to be anything like that, but rather a facilitated, motivational, and inspirational rhythm event where everyone contributed to the music and the organizational message we were drumming around. Her facial expression said what she did not speak and I could tell she was not convinced. I sat her in the back of the room as I joined the team on stage and we prepared for our program.
The team and I began drumming; the doors into the ballroom swung open, and in filed various departments within the organization we were presenting for. Each participant took a seat, picked up their drum and joined in the music making. Although my friend was not a part of this company, the client had invited her to join along and handed her a drum. Once again, not wanting to be rude, she reluctantly agreed. At first she looked quite intimidated but the energy in the room was so incredibly electric that she could not even try to ignore it. Soon she was smiling away with the rest of the group, banging on her drum as if she was one of them. The truth is, in that moment, she was. Regardless of how it all unfolded, my friend was now drumming in unity with the people around her and through the very nature of group drumming, became aligned with the whole of the team and the common vision they all shared.
Once again the power of the drum had brought everyone together, uplifted their spirits, and energized the team with the empowerment they needed to launch their product successfully and exceed the overall objective. No other method of motivation or tactic for imparting information is as effective as drumming. By making music together people are engaged, enlightened and endowed with the message we impart in a way that they not only retain but utilize to achieve their designated goals. Rhythm speaks a universal language that transcends barriers to effective communication and delivers a powerful impact that is absolutely undeniable.
After the program, there was an ecstatic, exhilarating essence that resonated throughout the room. Everyone was buzzing about what they just experienced. Our client was astounded at the results we were able to achieve. He was referred to us through a colleague that had experienced our program. Apparently the colleague’s referral was quite impressive to convince the conservative head of this organization. During our pre-program conversations, much like my skeptical friend, I could sense his trepidation around drumming. But he knew he needed to go in a different direction as it related to inspiring his team because past efforts were just not providing the kind of results his organization needed. He took a chance and was gleefully amazed at the extraordinary outcome of our efforts.
Later that morning on the way home from the event my friend and I were chatting about the program. She was as elated as everyone else from the experience. Her cynicism and doubt around drumming had disappeared and transformed her into a rhythm advocate. This once incredulous woman was now spewing words of utter amazement at what she had not only experienced, but also witnessed from the interaction with others, and the overall undeniable success of the program. She said to me “Nat, it’s like asparagus…I had no idea how delicious it was until I tasted it!”
It happens— ambassadors of drumming are born out of just one spectacular experience. We see rhythm-phobic’s transform into drummers, dancers, and overall rhythm emissaries every day. We’d love to hear your story. What have been your experiences with drumming?
In Joy and Rhythm,