Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Christian ‘Christylez’ Bacon. If you haven’t heard of him before, he is a local DC musician and Grammy nominee who combines traditional instruments such as the djembe drum or spoons with progressive hip hop. Bacon has performed at the Smithsonian a number of times including the Folklife Festival as well as for heritage month at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. However, this time he was here for Create:Smithsonian, a program that allows people from around the institution to gather and discuss diverse topics.
This session of Create:Smithsonian was focused on the idea of a ‘jam session’ as a team building exercise. During a jam sesh, each member of the group has to have clear communication skills and bring their own thing to the table for it to be successful. Lead by Bacon on the djembe, the group went over a few beat boxing techniques as well as some basic rhythmic patterns and soon we were all getting into the music; using various percussive instruments as well as our hands and mouths to create a collective sound. It was really fun and interactive, as much as I usually shy away from ‘interactive team building exercises’, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and Christylez really knew how to get his audience to relax and join in.
By the end, the jam session got all of us thinking about how challenges in art and music can be applied to everyday life. It is always motivational to remind ourselves that creative problem solving can actually be fun! Create: Smithsonian is made possible with support from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation.