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Huh? What Did You Say?

Communication – it can be a blessing and a curse.  Have you ever heard a particular tidbit of information that you have heard so many times before only to have it presented in such a way that it actually clicked and the light bulb went on?  Or have you ever witnessed a conversation between people where no one understands what the other is saying when in actuality you observe that they are all saying the same thing, just differently?

Technology and communication has evolved over the last ten years to be absolutely vital to the level of productivity and advancement we can now achieve.  However emails, texts, and other forms of digital communication can lose meaning in the translation from the mind to the words written.  Compounded with this challenge is the fact that we all have unique communication styles with different patterns of communication, and when those patterns clash, it can cause chaos and undermine what we are trying to accomplish with our communication efforts.

Words can often get in the way of what we are trying to convey.  At some point, utilizing a universal language such as rhythm and drumming can create a greater understanding than speaking could ever achieve.  Rhythm gives us an opportunity to reach common ground around a common vision through a common heartbeat.  The results are undeniable.  Not only do we witness the unity and collective awareness that rhythm and drumming accomplish in each program we present, but history also demonstrates this fact as communities have utilized drumming as a collaborative tool to eradicate conflict for ages.

Rhythm gives us the opportunity to step away from conventional communication methods and in essence take a break from what might not be working.  By engaging in music-making activities with others, we have the opportunity to refresh our minds and our bodies, providing us new perspective on a topic.  With this renewed awareness we can move forward with decisions and action from a state of alignment and collaboration.

The other day I stumbled upon a YouTube video with Maria Shriver delivering a commencement speech to the USC Annenberg School of Communication.  In her presentation she advises the young graduates about the importance of taking a pause in life and prior to any significant decision.  She spoke of the importance of personal communication and to make time for clarity so that we mean what we say and say what we mean.  Her words are profoundly steeped in wisdom and so vital to keep in mind so that we all understand each other clearly.

This advice applies to people of all ages and stages of life, and is particularly inspiring at a time when communication is evolving at a mind-blowing rate.  I find that her words of wisdom relate directly to what the Drum Cafe West does and how we ignite effective communication across functions, roles, departments and geography in our drumming programs.  I hope that you get as much out of her discourse as I did.  May it inspire you to greater levels of communication in every area of your life.


In Joy and Rhythm,

Natalie Spiro

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