The Bottom Line on Drumming
About Drumming and Drum Circles
What is a drum circle? A drum circle is a musical gathering. But a drum circle is more than just the instruments and the act of drumming; it is also the shared experience of the participants. The drums and drumming are the vehicles that take the group to its final destination - a place where everyone has a voice and is empowered to use it, and where the creative spirit is shared by everyone in the circle. A drum circle is really a people circle.
A drum circle can be simply defined as "a group of people working together to create in-the-moment music using drums and percussion instruments." Key words and phrases are group, working together, create, and in-the-moment. A drum circle is not a percussion ensemble performing a prepared piece of music, or a drumming class led by a teacher, nor any group that is re-creating music it has played before. It's a unique event that is spontaneously created by the participants, preferably with the help of a facilitator - a musical guide who helps the group achieve its goals.
The Science Behind Corporate Drumming
The economic and health benefits of drumming have been scientifically researched and documented in many major publications including USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, and several top medical journals. Scientists have found that corporate drumming can increase employee retention, improve mood, and reduce stress levels – all of which can have a big impact when it comes down to the bottom line.
The Bottom Line on Drumming
The bottom line is that drumming saves money, according to the findings of a study (Bittman, et al., 2004). When employees of a Pennsylvania company participated in drumming sessions with their co-workers, economic analysts projected a 18.3% reduction in turnover, saving the company $89,100 in costs associated with training new hires. That’s a return on investment of $60.57 saved for every dollar invested! Moreover, study author Dr. Barry Bittman found that six weeks after the sessions ended, participants continued to report a 62 percent improvement in mood, suggesting that the benefits of drumming can continue long after the music has ended.
Corporate employees participating in a drumming research study reported a 20.7% reduction in stress. Medical scientists have shown that drumming alleviates the body’s response to stress and increases the disease fighting activity of circulating white blood cells called Natural Killer Cells. (Bittman, Berk, Felten, Westengard, Simonton, Pappas, Ninehouser, 2001, Alternative Therapies, Vol. 7, No. 1).
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Toyota’s Associate Development Manager, Ron "R.J." Johnson, says drumming is “a powerful metaphor for high-performance teaming and what those high-performance teams can look like," Toyota recently spent $20,000 to outfit a drumming room on the top floor of its training center in Torrance, CA. Drum circles are held about twice a week, and more than 3,000 Toyota associates have participated in drum circles (“Corporate Drumming,” American Music Making Conference, 2003).
After participating in six one-hour drumming sessions with their co-workers, employees reported a 17.1% decrease in fatigue, a 6.3% increase in productivity, and a 6.4% increase in vigor/activity (Bittman, et. Al., 2003)
When employees of a long-term care facility participated in drum circles employee turnover dropped by 18.3%. Total annual savings to the industry for such a decrease in turnover is projected to be more than $1.46 billion. (Bittman, et. Al., 2003).
Long Term Morale
Co-workers of the Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community experienced nearly a 50% improvement in mood after participating in drumming, including a reduction in feelings of depersonalization, dejection, and hostility. Six weeks later the same employees showed more than a 62% improvement in mood (Bittman, et. Al., 2003).
Training and Development Drum Circles
Drum circles are used in business and professional settings as a developmental tool to illustrate the principles and advantages of teamwork, the value of diverse abilities, and the benefits of developing camaraderie among co-workers. Many corporations seeking to provide beneficial activities for their employees look to drum circles as a way to promote a sense of partnership, reduce stress, and encourage healthy peer relationships.
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Benefits of training & development drum circles include:
- illustrating the benefits of diversity;
- showing that by cooperating, people can achieve more together than they could alone (synergy);
- new and strengthened peer relationships, created through cooperation, that carry over into the workplace
- Interactive programmes develop confidence, communication and motivation. Each participant takes away a real sense of personal achievement and enjoyment.
This helps build a happier workplace by:
- Creating strong working relationships and team spirit
- Promoting effective communication
- Experiencing and developing coaching skills
- Building cooperation and interaction
The Outcomes You Can Expect for Your Organisation
Corporate drumming creates a powerful metaphor for effective teamwork, while improving mood and decreasing fatigue. The results you can expect for your organisation is that drumming will:
- Reduce Stress
- Boost morale
- Re-ignite purpose
- Improve employee loyalty
- Infuse creativity
- Increase workplace satisfaction
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