By Stephen Heart
I run Playworks Oz. We run a variety of interactive workshops, including Drum Circles and In-The-Moment-Music-Making sessions. We use them as a vehicle for community and corporate messages and to teach concepts of Positive Psychology through playing in this medium. I was working for Toastmasters at a large conference some time ago. I had a hundred or so participants, all Toastmasters, a wonderful group of men and women who coach and encourage each other in communication and specifically, public speaking.
My session was entitled ‘Tuning Your Instrument’ and used a story and metaphors to invite the participants to examine and recall their strengths as public speakers. As the story and the players’ drumming skills progress, they are asked to note the areas they realise they need to work on. Power point is used to help tell the story as we play, but the pictures are simple, and easily described. They’re more metaphors and illustrations of the point I’m making. During this time the players are improving – in part due to their concentration on their listening and reading the ‘audience’, making subtle adjustments etc. I’ve run this and very similar sessions, successfully. Afterwards, I am fortunate enough to receive feedback. Sometimes its a simple thank you, other times it’s more in depth.
My eyes welled up, people moved out of the way. There was another woman who had come into the room who now helped guide her. Later she would come and thank me ‘for whatever you did.’ The truth is, I didn’t. She did.
In this kind of music making, people show up with all sorts of ‘Stuff’, the connectivity you can create and feel by being a small part of something bigger and the feeling you get when your contribution is heard to make a difference is phenomenal.