Can Drum Circles Boost Group Cohesion?

February 11, 2024

In the endless quest for innovative team building activities, corporate circles are turning to a surprising source – drumming. In a world where business operations and personal interactions are increasingly digitized, the tactile and rhythmical experience of drumming in a group, or a drum circle, stands out as a unique and engaging activity.

What’s more, an emerging body of research suggests that drum circles might not just be fun, but could also significantly boost group cohesion.

The Magic of Drumming Circles

Drum circles, for those unfamiliar with the term, involve a group of participants each playing drums or other percussive instruments in a coordinated manner. Participants sit in a circle, allowing everyone to see and hear each other, fostering a sense of connection and shared experience.

While drum circles have deep roots in various cultures worldwide, in recent years they have also been adopted in various non-traditional settings. Therapy sessions, educational institutions, and now even corporate team building activities are incorporating drum circles for their potential benefits.

The Rhythmic Connection

The fundamental aspect of drum circles that makes them an effective tool for group cohesion is the shared rhythmic experience. In a drum circle, each member contributes to creating a collective rhythm, a shared pulse that binds the group together.

A study published in the PLOS ONE journal revealed that synchronized rhythmical activities, such as drumming, can lead to the increase of endorphins – chemicals known for their role in social bonding. This study, however, is just one piece of a larger body of data suggesting that group drumming can foster a sense of unity and shared responsibility.

Individual Contribution in a Collective Context

Another aspect of drum circles that stands out is the balance they strike between individual contribution and collective output. Each participant plays their drum, contributing a unique sound or rhythm to the overall musical piece. However, it’s the combined sound of all the drums that create the final piece of music, mirroring the way individuals contribute to a team’s success in a corporate setting.

Drum Circles and the Corporate World

In the fast-paced and high-stress environment of the corporate world, drum circles provide a refreshing and engaging team-building activity. They offer a break from the usual powerpoint presentations and brainstorming sessions, and provide an opportunity for employees to connect with each other in a fun, non-judgmental space.

Drumming circles can also act as a metaphor for teamwork and shared responsibilities in the workplace. In a drum circle, each individual is important and contributes their unique rhythm to create music. Similarly, in a corporate environment, each team member brings their unique skills and perspectives, and contributes to the overall success of the team.

Furthermore, these circles can be an effective way to illustrate the importance of active listening, a critical skill in the workplace. When creating music in a drum circle, participants need to listen to each other’s rhythms and adjust their own accordingly. This mirrors the kind of dynamic and responsive communication needed in effective team work.

Drum Circles as Therapy

The benefits of drum circles extend beyond the corporate world. This powerful group activity has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects. For instance, a doi-cited study found that group drumming could improve mental health, reduce burnout and even have positive effects on autoimmune disease conditions.

In therapy circles, drumming is used as a non-verbal form of expression, allowing individuals to communicate and connect on a deeper level. Drum circles can also help individuals tap into their creative side, providing a therapeutic outlet for emotions and stress.

In conclusion, while further research is needed, the data available suggests that drum circles can indeed be a powerful tool for fostering group cohesion, whether in corporate team building, therapy, or other contexts. Whether you’re looking to improve team dynamics at your office, or seeking a novel way to connect and heal, it might be worth giving drum circles a try.

Varun Venkit and the Power of Group Drumming

Varun Venkit, a renowned music therapist and rhythm facilitator, has been leading drum circle workshops worldwide. His approach to rhythm therapy is widely recognized for its ability to bring about a sense of connection among participants. Venkit’s work fundamentally showcases how rhythm can serve as a powerful tool for social cohesion in a world that often seems fragmented and detached.

Venkit’s drum circle workshops are designed to facilitate the experience of “ensemble playing.” This means that each participant of the drum circle contributes their unique rhythm to create a collective beat. By doing so, individuals find themselves part of a larger whole, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. This experience resonates particularly well in a corporate context where individual contributions add up to a team’s overall performance.

Venkit emphasizes the importance of active listening in drum circles. Participants need to tune into the rhythms played by others and adjust their own accordingly. This spontaneous adaptation fosters a dynamic that closely mirrors effective communication in team settings.

Venkit also employs drum circles as a form of music therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The rhythmic stimulation of drumming has been found to improve motor symptoms and overall mood, providing a unique therapeutic angle for managing the condition. Moreover, group drumming sessions contribute to alleviating feelings of isolation often experienced by people living with neurodegenerative disorders.

Drum Circles as an Innovative Team Building Activity

Drum circles are increasingly being used as team building activities in corporate settings. Unlike traditional team building exercises, drum circles provide a refreshing departure from the norm. They inject fun and rhythm into team building sessions, creating an engaging, non-judgmental space for employees to connect.

In a drum circle workshop, every individual matters. Each unique sound or rhythm they create contributes to the final musical piece, just as each team member’s skills and perspectives contribute to the success of a team project. This makes drum circles a powerful metaphor for illustrating shared responsibilities in a corporate environment.

Furthermore, drum circles promote active listening, a critical skill for team dynamics. Participants need to listen to others’ rhythms and adjust their own accordingly, mirroring the kind of dynamic and responsive communication needed in successful teams.

Drum circles also provide a unique opportunity for music therapists to work with corporate teams. They bring their professional expertise to these sessions, facilitating the process and ensuring a valuable and enriching experience for all participants.

In Summary

The evidence emerging from various studies and practical experiences suggests that drum circles could indeed boost group cohesion. From Varun Venkit’s work with rhythm therapy to their use in corporate team building activities and in managing health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, drum circles seem to have a lot to offer.

Their unique blend of individual contribution and ensemble playing, along with the requirement for active listening, makes them a potent tool for enhancing social bonding and teamwork. Whether it’s improving team dynamics, reducing anxiety and depression, or providing a novel approach to therapy, drum circles appear to be a versatile and impactful tool.

In conclusion, drum circles offer a unique and engaging approach to fostering group cohesion. Whether in a corporate team building setting or a music therapy environment, they provide a shared rhythmical experience that resonates deeply with our innate human desire for connection and unity. While more research is needed to fully explore their potential, the existing data and experiences suggest that drum circles are well worth exploring further.