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In music, there is tonality and there is rhythm; two elements that work together to communicate emotion. In human discourse, words act as the rhythm while body language is the tonality. Each must work in harmony to evoke communication that is readily understood. Have you ever met someone who gave you a compliment while they were standing with arms crossed and without making eye contact? I bet you felt conflicted because the communication felt insincere, right? But, it sounded somewhat ok. That is because the rhythm of the words and the tonality of the body language were not in alignment.

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When addressing the dynamics of communication, whether in the corporate world, at school or at home, it is critical to assess both verbal and non-verbal communication cues. In our practices at Drum Cafe North America, such as our Symphony of Rhythm program, we facilitate group drumming activities in corporate team-building workshops as a meaningful and engaging way to bring awareness to the rhythms and tonalities of communication without bristling another’s defenses. We guide individuals to connect and operate as a singular, cohesive team by inviting them to explore their own communication styles through the music of drumming. By providing this forum rather than offering the typical analysis of direct and potentially harsh feedback, we enable individuals to realize their own patterns and those of their colleagues. Through body language alone, we teach, it is easy to spot the soul who is comfortable in a room; who is excited or bored or even who is anxious and fearful.

By inviting individuals to communicate using a different medium—in our case, the drum—we help them better understand their overall challenges and triumphs when trying to convey ideas and thoughts in a much more effective and successful manner.

Helping to build teams through the rhythm of communication enables better alignment and purposeful shifts in behavior to create more open communication and collaborative environments.

Are you looking for experts in team building and leadership development? At Drum Cafe North America and Blue Fire Leadership, we offer customizable programs to align your teams, build more effective communications, instill positive and transformative change and create one united organization poised for excellence.


What was Kaiser Permanente hoping to achieve?
Kaiser Permanente was launching their newly curated KP Leadership University program. They were searching for something to get their participants jazzed by means of an extremely energizing and holistic approach. They envisioned this launch to connect their participants with Kaiser Permanente’s vision and essential elements of their newly launched leadership program while also connecting these carefully chosen recipients to each other. Beyond this, an element of surprise was an absolute must to not only excite their audience but boost the experience to further mark this program as a differentiator for KP and for the inaugural class.

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Why did KP choose Drum Cafe North America?
Drum Cafe North America was a natural choice as Kaiser Permanente had previously experienced Natalie Spiro, our President & Founder, along with the rest of our tribe.

KP understood the power that DCNA creates in a group as well as our unique ability to both understand and convey powerful messaging catered to their organization’s vision and newly launched leadership program.

Kaiser Permanente entrusted DCNA as we set a high standard for energizing and enhancing team building activities and tactfully curated a highly customized program. The experience as a whole was one that was both visually stimulating and brilliantly entertaining.

Final Outcomes:

It is said here most meaningfully by KPLU Director of L&D and Executive L&D, Laura Dannels:

We had absolutely RAVE REVIEWS from our sponsors Julie Miller-Phipps and Annie Russell at the Drum Cafe North America. Natalie did such an amazing job of weaving our business objectives throughout the content and the participants had an amazing time!! I would highly recommend bringing in Drum Cafe North America for any of your needs. She understands leadership and is able to weave your specific themes throughout any program.

We are planning to use them annually for the KP Leadership University Program all SCAL managers will be attending, Activate.


In November of 2012, I had the opportunity to deliver a TEDxFiDi talk, “Ubuntu: The Rhythm of Connection.” In the 17-minute presentation, I was able to utilize the power of group drumming to illustrate the concept of Ubuntu and help attendees develop a deeper understanding of their connection to the world around them. Ubuntu means, “I am who I am because of those around me.” Nothing illustrates that point more clearly than group drumming. We have connections to other people each moment of the day, whether that connection is positive or negative is another story. What we aim to do using drumming is to help individuals find the Rhythm of Connection with others in a positive way.

Drum Cafe North America Natalie Spiro TEDx Talk

Since the TEDx talk, I’ve had many opportunities to deliver my keynote program for corporations around the US from San Francisco to Chicago. With each organization, the program has a slightly different goal. Whether we’re introducing new hires to the corporate culture, launching a diversity and inclusion program or inspiring senior leadership, Drum Cafe North America has been really busy bringing the concept of Ubuntu to the corporate arena’s across every industry vertical.

In more recent months, my TEDx talk has continued to inspire my development of new workshops on the rhythm of connection, innovation, trust, and communication, and just what all this means for shifting corporate culture. I’ve been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to my latest programs, including my two-day Leadership Summit, partnering with BLUE FIRE LEADERSHIP, in which teams of leaders and individual contributors, gain a stronger understanding of their dynamics, of how they can be a more cohesive and high performing force. Celebrating thought leadership at the TEDx conference has not only helped me to further establish myself as a leader in the corporate team-building world but also to dive deeper into what I already offer and take it to the next level.


Drum Cafe North America and Blue Fire Leadership collaborated in the design and delivery of a two-day Global Summit for Universal Music Group’s HR Function. We used rhythmic and non-rhythmic modules, as well as specifically designed content and customized simulations to address UMG’s major pain points.

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With a greater sense of collaboration and inter-dependency within the HR team, existing gaps were bridged to strengthen interpersonal connections and improve overall productivity. A deeper understanding of their own self-awareness, what it takes to build trust, as well as a new found respect for their individual differences, allowed for a positive and intentional transformation to occur.

Participants walked away from this two-day immersion busting the silos of cynicism and opening up new pathways for discovery and expansion as a team.  Increased awareness led to greater team achievements, deeper respect for one another, and stronger bonds of trust.