A Drum Café Teambuilding Experience

Get Ready

Imagine the chairs, hundreds of them in a circle, and on each chair is a drum. The atmosphere in the room is electric with anticipation. Two long boardroom tables have been joined and covered with white tablecloths. The staff that work at the venue are quieter than usual, I am told. They hurry to the kitchen and back, laying out snacks, stacking plates, someone is arranging flowers. Everything seems brighter, every sound is clearer. The anticipation is palpable. This isn’t just another teambuilding session. Something big is going to happen very soon.

The Drum Café guys finish up with the chairs and take a seat. Teambuilding experts, they’ve done this hundreds of times before, sometimes for up to 6000 people. They did 50 separate teambuilding exercises for IBM alone. You can find Drum Café facilitators around the world, from Japan to Canada.

Just seeing the drums being unpacked, trying to keep count as the facilitators flew through the motions of setting up, was enough to make us realize that we were about to experience an event that we’d definitely be telling our friends about. One of the guys struck up a rhythm earlier on, just a quick playful beat that immediately lifted the mood, got my feet tapping along. Imagine that sound a few hundred times over.

But, right this moment, the drums patiently wait.

Teambuilding – African Style

The clients arrive in buses, all suits and ties – very formal. As they file into the room for what they think is another arbitrary teambuilding exercise, Drum Café facilitators start playing their drums, signalling the start of the event. The clients look surprised, and then excited. The rhythm is contagious. They search for chairs amidst the pulsing swirl of drumbeats. It’s almost as though they are already walking in step to the sound. Some folks start clapping and dancing before they’ve even taken a seat.

People start playing of their own accord; tentatively at first and then louder. The sound grows and swells in massive beautiful pulses as each person takes to their instrument. No one needs encouragement. No one needs to be told what to do. The instinct is ancient, primal, part of being human. This is real teambuilding.

Without pause, a facilitator rises from his chair, and begins to orchestrate the group. He does so without speaking. He lets his body do the talking, unifying the beats into perfect harmony. The sound is incredible. People are having fun. They move as one unit, effortlessly adding their voice to a singular beautiful sound that grows and grows.

Over the course of an hour of teambuilding, the facilitators lead the group through drumming performances and interactive sessions. You can see the change. Stress and anxiety are forgotten, giving way to trust, relaxation, exhilaration, and a togetherness that wasn’t there before.

Drum Café has facilitated teambuilding activities for a number of the Fortune 500 companies. They have also created amazing moments at numerous smaller gatherings. No matter what the event, they work magic by uniting people.