We arrive at the venue to prepare for the group drumming component of the conference. To the surprise of a waitress, we start unloading drum after drum and by the time we get to 50, she asks, "Who is going to play all those drums?" We say “200 accountants!”
We unpack the 200 drums and form a circle of chairs. The delegates are completely unaware that they are about to drum and are now beginning to arrive at the venue for their annual conference. We begin to play our drums announcing that the program is about to commence. When the accountants enter the room, they cannot believe their eyes. In front of them, they find a drum set out on each seat. While they move through the room and find a seat, the music continues, filling the room and creating an electric atmosphere.
Tentatively, a few brave individuals start beating away on their drum. An enthusiastic person gets carried away with the energy in the room and leaps into the middle of the circle for a quick dance to the wild applause and cheers of the group. The rhythm becomes infectious and soon everybody is tapping on his/her drum. Then, without saying a word, our facilitator gets up and starts to orchestrate the group with a repertoire of body language signals, bringing the 200 entry-level musicians into perfect harmony. This is the beginning of the magic of the Drum Café drum circle… Participants are taught simple drumming rhythms through our successful methodology. We alternate drumming performances with the interactive parts to create a magical event where the audience themselves are the orchestra.
For an hour, participants are engaged in a co-operative activity that leaves them feeling energized and exhilarated both as individuals and as a group.
Note: We can combine the interactive drumming with boomwhacking, which is a wonderful follow-on from drumming as it introduces melody. Boomwhackers are brightly coloured plastic tubes that are tuned by length to musical notes. When hit on the hand, each colour boom-whacker produces a different tone. The facilitators split the group up according to colour of boom-whacker, and then give each group a different rhythm to play. These intertwining rhythms come together to produce a melodious musical composition and the group is taught to make music as one.