The amazing neuroscience of drumming

Drummers may find themselves as the butt of the jokes in the music world, but science says that science shows drummers have an advantage over everyone else. A video suggests that drummers have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us. What does the brain of a drummer look like? When a drummer gets into the beat, where is the rhythm flowing from? Is it in the wrists, the feet, the brain? Check out this short video from General Electric to learn more:

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This video suggests that when playing the drums your arms and ears pose to the rhythm and these actions light up regions of neural connections. When you start moving to the beat your motor cortex begins to activate and results in stronger connection to the brain that eventually leads to increases in skills like good timing. Essentially, this video suggests that drummers have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us.

A study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving in drummers. The drummers who were able to keep a steady beat scored the highest in the intelligence tests conducted by this study. This research has suggested that drummers might actually be natural intellectuals. Proffessor Ullen, who conducted this study said:

“We found that people with high general intelligence were also more stable on a very simple timing task. We also found that these participants had larger volumes of the white matter in the brain, which contains connections between brain regions.”

The natural intelligence of drummers isn’t limited to just themselves. Research has shown that a tight beat can actually transfer that natural intelligence to others. This study suggests that experiencing a steady rhythm actually improves cognitive function of the listeners too.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman concluded that drummers have a unique mental makeup. Basically, they have different brains from the rest of us, according to an experiment conducted at Brian Eno’s studio with various professional drummers.

University of Oxford psychologist Robin Dunbar found that the endorphin-filled act of drumming increases positive emotions and leads people to work together in a more cooperative fashion. Dunbar also found out that people have higher pain thresholds immediately after performing music or dancing.

Drumming has several therapeutic aspects, says Clash drummer Topper Headon in a BBC interview.

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Read: The Spectacular Science Behind Sonogenetics: Controlling the Brain Through Sound

Muziekonderwijs terug op scholen

Zoals u misschien niet ontgaan is, is er de laatste tijd veel te doen geweest om het muziekonderwijs te herintroduceren op basisscholen. Op 10 februari j.l. had het programma: ‘De wereld draait door’, er zelfs een speciale thema-uitzending aan gewijd op tv.
Hier kunt u de uitzending terugkijken

Muziekeducatie staat hoog op de politieke agenda. Landelijk wordt er extra geld vrijgemaakt door publieke én private partijen. Al in 2014 is er door de Rijksoverheid een campagne van start gegaan om dit te stimuleren.

Het Nederlandse bedrijfsleven is tevens bereid om miljoenen euro’s te investeren in goed muziekonderwijs. Dit is het eerste grootschalige publiek-private initiatief waarvan alle ruim 7000 basisscholen kunnen profiteren. Minister Jet Bussemaker (onderwijs, cultuur) heeft al 25 miljoen euro beschikbaar gesteld, de bedoeling is dat particuliere fondsen en bedrijven dat bedrag verdubbelen.
Veel onderzoeken wijzen uit dat er een groot draagvlak in de samenleving is voor meer en beter muziekonderwijs.

P1170290   P1170292 Waarom is muziekeducatie zo belangrijk?
In onze cultuur neemt het passief ondergaan van muziek steeds meer toe, terwijl het actief muziek zowel in de muziekscholen als op de gewone scholen afneemt.
Muziek maken is een uitdagende taak voor de hersenen, hieronder een aantal voordelen op rij:

· Kinderen op muziekles kunnen jaren later nog profiteren van een scherper brein, zelfs als ze dan niet meer muziek maken. Het houdt de hersenen namelijk levenslang scherp fitter en beter in staat zich aan te passen aan het ouder worden.
· Muziek leerlingen scoren beter op verschillende cognitieve testen, dan leerlingen die nooit hadden geleerd een instrument te bespelen of noten te lezen.
· Muziek bevorder het ruimtelijk inzicht en het voorstellingsvermogen, ook bevorderd het de hersenfunctie van hogere activiteiten als wiskunde en schaken.
· In klassen waar regelmatig muziekonderwijs wordt gegeven, zijn er minder leerlingen die uit de boot vallen. Kinderen zijn over het algemeen evenwichtiger, toleranter en voorzichtiger in de omgang met anderen. Het aantal kinderen dat wordt gepest, is in de klassen met muziekles bijna twee maal zo laag als in de klassen zonder extra aandacht voor muziek.
· Samen muziek maken is een geschikt middel is om conflicten van de puberteit, gevoelens van agressiviteit en trots te verzachten en onzekerheid te ondersteunen.
Muziek maken kan sterk wisselende stemmingen opvangen.

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Kortom: muziek is belangrijker dan je denkt, het doet wat met je. Muziek maakt slim. Leerlingen groeien hierdoor op tot niet alleen meer intelligente, maar ook socialere mensen. Uiteindelijk zal dus muziekonderwijs een positief effect hebben op de algehele samenleving en onze toekomst.

Drum Cafe bied laagdrempelige interactieve muzieksessies aan voor jong en oud. We willen laten beleven dat muziek maken voor iedereen een positieve bijdrage kan leveren, dus voor kleine en grote kinderen;-)

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Wilt u meer lezen over dit onderwerp, hier onze tip:
Fonds voor Cultuur en participatie / Kinderen maken muziek

PH & PT

The Importance of Celebrating Milestones in the Workplace

As children we are always told to remain humble. When I was growing up it was important for me to establish a good work ethic, making sure that all of my work was done on time and that goals were met (Who am I kidding? I always wanted to surpass my goals!). But rarely did I keep track of my accomplishments after they were over, nonetheless celebrate them. Milestones, whether personal or work-related, are inspiring memories that we need to hang on to—they shouldn’t go unrecognized. Rewarding-small-achievements is a way for us to see how far we’ve come and can serve as our motivation for the next big move.

 

As important as it is to honor milestones in our personal life—like graduations for example—it is also important to celebrate them in our work environment. Yes, businesses accomplish things every day, but securing that big client or crushing a sales goal are things that need to be consistently recognized and celebrated to provide motivation and inspiration for the next big feat. According to a 2015 report commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, employee recognition has a huge effect on the bottom-line and helps cultivate a positive work culture. There were 823 HR professionals who took part in the survey and this is what they had to say about employee recognition:

  • 90 percent say it positively impacted engagement.
  • 86 percent say it increased employee happiness.
  • 84 percent say it improved employee relationships.
  • 68 percent say it positively impacted retention.

Those are some impressive stats, right? Setting aside time to honor your most recent accomplishments will allow you to visually see your company’s growth and happiness and keep the team motivated. Deadlines and distance issues may not make it easy for you to celebrate with your team(s) as much as you’d like, but you definitely need to dedicate time to treating yourself and the rest of your group for working together and making things happen.

So, how do you start planning your meaningful celebration? Here are some tips:

  1. Travel back in time and write down the top five business accomplishments you had last year (ask your team to weigh in if you need some help). Reflect on the steps you took and use those thoughts as part of your celebratory message to help congratulate yourself and your team for finishing the journey.
  2. When you celebrate a milestone, you tend to celebrate with others (that means you share the rewards, too). Remember that individual recognition is important—don’t worry if you make someone blush! Find opportunities to single out each member of the group for something great that they did. Receiving encouragement from others is a great form of motivation and empowerment.
  3. Hosting a celebration is just another way to tell your team, “Yes! Let’s do more of this!” It tells everyone that whatever just happened was a big deal and that things should be done at that pace more often. Company-wide celebrations will also boost morale and refresh everyone after what may have been a long, stressful journey. You can celebrate in various ways such as taking everyone to lunch, hosting a staff retreat or by getting innovative and inviting Drum Cafe to do a powerful interactive experience for your team.

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Thought-leader and best-selling author John Stahl-Wart once said, “When we celebrate a milestone, we are reminded to give thanks for the rest of our everyday moment.” When you honor your milestones you’ll find that the memory of the accomplishment stays in the forefront of your mind and your heart—and you will want to work harder so you can experience that feeling again.

Does your company celebrate milestones?
If so, which one was the most memorable?

Natalie Spiro Drum Cafe

 

Fall: A Season for Leadership Renewal

As the seasons begin to change once again and we get another step closer to a new year, I’ve found that this is the perfect time for leaders to reflect on their organization and leadership styles. Now that more than half of the calendar year has passed, the fall season provides an opportunity to take a look back at your organization’s accomplishments and setbacks and be proactive about improving for the future. To help with this process, here are some of the areas I like to focus on analyzing during fall renewal season:

Analyze your “hands-on” approach. This advice can work two different ways depending on your leadership style. Some leaders focus a lot of their energy on their own tasks and projects that they seem inaccessible and detached from the rest of their team. This can be easily fixed by shifting around priorities to have more open communication with employees and colleagues. On the other hand, some leaders confuse “hands on” managing with micro-managing. As a leader, your job is to offer guidance and set objectives, not make sure everyone does their jobs exactly as you would. Being self-aware of your leadership strategy and making edits can help make you an even greater leader, which will help your organization rise to success.

Foster an innovative environment. Your team has a multitude of creative ideas and solutions, so it’s important to make sure your environment fosters this kind of environment. Of course, accidents and obstacles may come forward when taking risks, but the best solutions are usually born from the craziest ideas. Listening to your team and showing them that you value their ideas and creativity will help everyone stay motivated to reach your common goals.

Let go of old notions of leadership. Though there are some strategies and tactics that withstand the test of time, most often it’s much more beneficial for leaders to constantly be re-evaluating them. Those old notions of leadership, like managing by fear, can create major setbacks for your organization, even if these strategies could have easily been avoided. It’s your responsibility to constantly be challenging yourself to improve. After all, this organization is much greater than any one person, but as a leader it’s your job to always be pushing your organization forward and closer to success.
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Natalie Spiro Drum Cafe West Coast

 

3 Ways to Improve Global Communication

Is your organization global? Or perhaps they’re looking to expand their horizons?Either way, you’ll need to understand the unique challenges of creating a unified company culture across physical, language, and cultural barriers. The vital key to success in this unique environment depends entirely on an organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion training. Going global means more than just having a team that’s versed in many languages—powering these diverse and complex machines requires unparalleled communication skills.

With offices in over 20 countries around the world, my team at Drum Cafe is well versed in approaching the unique set of challenges that come with bonding an international team. Having a deep understanding of diversity and inclusion is critical to successful communication and innovation. We recently had an amazing event with a company that engineers and manufactures filtration, silencing and separation products, with a strong focus on communication. Their event was all about strengthening bonds and encouraging fearless collaboration. Their commitment to giving their team the tools to create successful relationships should serve as an inspiration to other global organizations. Here are three considerations for your team to learn from this company’s lead:

  1. Invest in team building with quality professionals – Drum Cafe is considered an expert in their field. We know how to help guide corporate teams to connection through so many various hurdles. From finding translators to make sure the event goes smoothly and is understood by all, to designing a cohesive program, trust the professionals. You want everyone on your team to benefit from the experience, and we know how to do that. No one should feel isolated or excluded from a team building event, and bringing everyone together to the same page is crucial. Give everyone the opportunity to participate in moments that inspire emotion, understanding, and connection.
  2. Try activities that are outside of the box—physical activities can also enhance communication. When you want to unite a global team, it can be especially powerful to show them that there’s more to their bond than verbal communication. For example, Drum Cafe has been bringing people together, overcoming diversity of all kinds, through our interactive and music-infused events. You don’t need to speak the same language to play a drum in sync with the team. Getting employees to laugh, dance, or drum together is an unforgettable experience, and an amazing way to bond.
  3. Create cross-departmental teams outside of the traditional structure to mix it up. Setting up a diversity council with team members from across the organization forces those who normally wouldn’t interact with one another to find connection. This gives employees a chance to be creative, to brainstorm and to work with people that they otherwise wouldn’t have, strengthening both your team and their understanding of diversity.

What types of events or initiatives have you found to be successful for your team?

TEDx Experience

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South Africa native Jo-Ann Radus has motivated and inspired hundreds of thousands of people globally with her insight and passion for effective communication, diversity, and collaboration.

Her love of music as a universal language led her to partner with the South Africa-based companDrum Cafe almost 20 years ago. Using interactive drumming and rhythmic exercises she is able to unite hundreds of people without saying a single word.

Jo-Ann, then, uses the platform created by the musical collaboration to deliver empowerment messages that resonate deeply with her audiences.

Growing up in a divided South Africa had a deep impact on Jo-Ann. As a former member of the then illegal ANC , Jo-Ann was intensely involved with the struggle for freedom in South Africa. Her commitment to equality for all had her seeking bridges between estranged communities.

Jo-Ann found that through her passion for theatre, music and dance she could help people unite beyond their prejudices and begin a process of finding common connection.

In 2003 Jo-Ann Radus & Alain Eagles travelled from Johannesburg South Africa to Atlanta, GA to bring Drum Café and their inspiring message to the United States.

For the past 12 years Jo-Ann and Alain have travelled across America working with many large and small corporate audiences. With a team of highly talented world class musicians, their company, Drum Café Southeast delivers a powerful message of collaboration, team work and the importance of authenticity.

Jo-Ann has a  Master’s in Industrial Social Work in South Africa and her work has been featured on Good Day Atlanta, CNN headline news, CNN Espanol and several times on SABC.

 

http://www.tedxcentennialparkwomen.com/tedx-experience-jo-ann-radus-drum-cafe/

Authentic Leadership in 4 Easy Steps

We all hope that each one of our actions is a reflection of our true self, but are they? My work connects me with some of the most dynamic leadership teams in the world, and I have to say that one of the most common dilemmas I see is the issue of real authenticity. Often times, leaders will struggle to be their true self while still adhering to their role or “persona” within their company. If you find yourself changing personalities depending on the scenario or the people you’re talking to, then you may be “guilty.” You may be setting boundaries or creating a feeling of duplicity and not even know you’re doing it.

I know that leaders don’t try to do this on purpose; understanding where this balance issue comes from is key. It could come from fear of displaying a weakness (a weakness that may not even be real) or losing respect as an authority figure. As workplace culture and diversity continues to be a prominent talk topic, leaders may feel an intense pressure to behave and respond a certain way. For example, if a leader has a unique perspective on something, they may not feel comfortable expressing since it doesn’t line up with what’s widely accepted as the norm. If you experience this dilemma, whether you’re in a leadership role or not, try these four tips to help you find your authenticity:

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  1. Be real (and realistic). I think it’s unrealistic to aim for total transparency here. Work on acknowledging when you’re not being authentic and learn from every experience. Make sure you’re able to pin point why you acted inauthentic, and then next time a scenario comes up, you can be better prepared.
  2. Practice with friends. Find someone that you’re already comfortable “being the real you” around, and compare your interactions with them to your interactions with people that you have authenticity issues with. Find out what makes these interactions different so you can bridge the great divide.
  3. Encourage others. Make sure your team knows that you’ve created a haven that encourages unique opinions and voices, and demonstrate that you fully embrace this idea yourself.
  4. Give everything a positive spin. Often times you’ll have to formulate an immediate response to a situation, so don’t let frustration get the best of you. Eliminate any irritation in your voice when you provide feedback to someone, and remember to circle back with the individual(s) so they know you genuinely care.

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Now I ask you to imagine everyone on your team (including you) opening up and having an authentic connection that’s positive and productive for the company. Doesn’t that sound amazing? I’ve seen some beautiful breakthroughs while leading Drum Cafe interactive teambuilding events— something really powerful happens when people let go and are welcome to be their true self!
Natalie Drum Cafe

 

 

Natalie Drum Cafe

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There were reportedly some issues with the heating system at the start of the event, but if anyone was still feeling cold after the performance of Drum Cafe, it was not for lack of trying by the band. Drum Cafe had the audience clapping, drumming, shouting and shaking to their hearts’ content. Stretching exercises were also included, and you were even encouraged to drum an ‘African massage’ on your neighbour’s shoulders. ‘To give every participant a new form of energy’ was their promise, and it certainly worked.

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Drum Cafe has been whipping up audiences all over the world since 1996, during conferences, but also at corporate events. According to Drum Cafe, drumming is the most effective team building activity. That may just be true. Drumming seems to be hardwired in our systems. Melodies and songs can evoke all kinds of emotions, but drums go straight to the heart and make you want to move along.
And move the audience did, as much as their seats allowed. The front rows even had their own drum sticks to add to the mix of rhythms. The guys from Drum Cafe directed, encouraged and finally thanked the audience. “Today you were the orchestra, so we applaud for you”
TedX Delft 2015
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Why Do Companies Choose Drum Cafe?

“Provide personal empowerment to lead change in a bold and authentic way.”

The beauty of our drumming program is that it illuminates how the individual can affect the outcome of the team. It’s so important to show people that their contributions make a difference. Sometimes the newest team member is the one that comes up with the game changing idea, and they need to feel supported to deliver it.

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“Bonding together new hires for the first time.”

Using our events to introduce new hires to one another and a company’s culture is something many organizations have successfully used in the past. Imagine walking into your first day at work and being greeted by the sounds of drumming. Then you learn you’ll actually be making music yourself! It’s not only an exciting way to introduce people to one another, but it’s also a great icebreaker that removes the outside world and bias from the introduction and focuses on the genuine emotional connection between team members.

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“Create catalytic transformation to overcome resistance.”

It’s always amazing to see the moment that a team realizes the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Sometimes teams need some encouragement to get there. One of the most common reasons people call us is to inspire their teams to collaborate to help them innovate. Whether there are personal insecurities or trust issues, or team communication issues, we help individuals break down their walls to see the bigger picture and further their ability to work collaboratively.

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“Experience team work without a talk or even knowing each other.”

For many people, experiencing the power of non-verbal communication is a game changer. Non-verbal communication can be even more powerful and telling about how an individual actually feels than the words that come out of their mouth. This is significant, and a point that we don’t take lightly!

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Whatever the reason people come to us, we are ready to design a program custom tailored to their needs. Using drumming as the medium levels the playing field and allows people to communicate freely and openly, allowing all members of the team to access a set of skills normally not utilized. On top of that, drumming also allows everyone to let loose and have fun!

Inspire and engage your organization with corporate team-building and entertainment events using interactive drumming. Contact us to learn more about our customized programs for corporate team building events , corporate entertainment, and conferences!

Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude in the Work Place

I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t get a “warm fuzzy” feeling when they’re acknowledged for a good deed. The benefits of expressing gratitude can be enormous, while the cost is essentially nothing. Often times, the act of saying “Thank You” or expressing gratitude happens naturally around friends and family, but the practice of gratitude in the workplace, interestingly enough, doesn’t happen as much. Yet, gratitude in a work environment can be invaluable. A survey done byJohn Templeton Foundation unveiled that people felt better when they thanked someone at work, but only a small number had actually done this regularly.

My recent event with Gap Outlets was titled “Academy of Leadership,” and the leadership aspect came from empowering each other through gratitude and harnessing that power to become better influencers, as well as leaders. By expressing gratitude, you increase your connectedness to others while also increasing your self-worth. Ritualizing gratitude will amplify the feelings of self-worth and connectedness, so I have everyone at the event play together and demonstrate the collective GAP Outlet heartbeat in the center of their drums.

The pulse at GAP Outlet’s event is their emotional connection with each other, with leadership team and with their customers. The participants practice gratitude in all of these areas:

  1. Coaching – Inspire your peers to perform at their peak.
  2. Directing – Steer your team to deliver what you need when you need it.
  3. Energizing – Give hope, build momentum and share passion.
  4. Executing – Take the lead to ensure your team deliver on time and in style.
  5. Innovating – Think outside the box and welcome the thoughts of others.
  6. Relating – Create, strengthen and manage relationships.
  7. Thriving – Look inside yourself to keep growing and gain strength.

Yes, that last point means you should express gratitude towards yourself! Gratitude can go a long ways— you will find things come much easier when you handle each other with a little TLC and find time to give thanks.

 Natalie Spiro Drum Cafe gratitude