Wednesday was a typical day in my life. I arrived at a lovely conference venue in the country. I parked effortlessly and then was greeted with many smiles and a selection of teas or coffee. I then relaxed in a comfortable lounge before my drumming team building session started.
Thursday however, was very different. Just for a day, I stepped back into my past and re-lived what I used to do as a professional drummer, not as a corporate drumming facilitator. Before Creative Team Events, I was a working drummer living in London and, like most professional musicians, playing in a variety of different environments. One month, I could be in a theatre. The next, I could be on a luxury cruise ship or perhaps in a tiny jazz bar. As a freelance musician, I could be in a different show, band or orchestra every night.
Never for a moment did I foresee what the future had in store for me and, only after reflection is it now totally apparent how useful and transferable the skills I learned are.
After I had fought my way through the London traffic and paid a fortune for parking, I unloaded my drum kit into a typically dingy rehearsal room by Waterloo Railway Bridge. In a baking hot studio underground, I was reunited with a band that I used to play in over ten years ago. We had decided to get together again to work on new songs and record what will be our third album. The band simply goes under the singer’s name –Philip Kane. Philip (shown above) has not only an incredible soul voice but writes songs and lyrics like no other. Philip Kane is now available on Spotify and iTunes.
Over the next four hours of rehearsing with my old friends, we all listened to each other, gave opinions, inspired each other, took direction, created new ideas and transformed old ones in one collective effort. We all had to come up with a quality product that let us express ourselves but still kept us within the confines of a style. We, as a unit, needed to sound totally cohesive and do this all against the clock!
The more we worked as a band again, the more it dawned on me just how similar all these necessary skills are to those required for team building events. Whether it’s professionals in a London studio or complete novices in a conference room, when it comes to creating a live performance together, the group challenges, personal revelations and ultimate excitement can be very similar.
A perfect example is the previous day’s team drumming event. We were tasked to take two merging departments and create a safe and trusting environment for individuals to collaborate together. We had an intense two-hour programme with fantastic results and feedback. Participants all learned the basic playing skills and then took ownership of many different rhythms parts. They learned to improvise in context and even to lead the group.
Working with the band also brought home how I have developed over the years, first as a musician and then as a team building facilitator. Who would have thought that the group awareness and focused listening skills learned as a musician all those years ago would be so invaluable to the facilitation work I do now?
I personally had a very rewarding and fun session in the studio. Mind you, I enjoyed getting back to more salubrious working conditions within the world of corporate team building!
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