Last week I attended the 17th International Handbell Symposium in Vancouver. This was a week-long event with about 750 handbell ringers from around the world who came together to learn, perform together, make new friends and renew previous connections. It was an amazing event on so many levels and I had the privilege of facilitating two workshops on interpersonal communications skills.
The Vision of the International Handbell Committee is to facilitate world peace through music. The idea is that if we can all come together from different cultures to learn and play music together it helps bring better understanding and communication. Working together to create the particular art form of handbell ringing requires awareness of self and of those around you. It also requires a ton of non-verbal communication. The business metaphor is clear – you have to be able to communicate and get along with your handbell “team” if you are to successfully create the music (product).
Last week’s blog was a re-post of my very first blog from the fall of 2014. In it I described how handbell ringing creates an opportunity to build teams. This experience has ultimately led me to create and facilitate workshops on teambuilding using handbells. A testimonial we received after one of these workshops was “Excellent. Jazz as a metaphor for team cannot be an exercise. This does!” another was, “What a great idea for teaching teamwork! Thank you!” The concept of using handbells as a unique teambuilding exercise was reinforced as I watched a number of the different Handbell groups perform in mini-concerts throughout the week. Especially the young, high school and university students from both Hong Kong and Japan who played without music (memorizing their pieces), or conductor. Their inter-connectedness, watching each other, being aware of where they were in the piece, and with each other was a workshop in teambuilding in itself. (Click here to see a video example).
If you didn’t stop to watch the video example above, I really encourage you to do so. What you see is the true definition of teamwork.
If you or your organization would like to learn more about Handbells as a teambuilding tool, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Whitehead, coaches’ individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.
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