Northeast State workshop will explore ‘synergy’

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What is “synergy?” A catch phrase? A book title? Or does it reflect a way of thinking to help students and faculty members reach beyond the traditional classroom into a new wave of learning.
Musician and educator Jim Donovan seeks to explain this idea and teach others to become effective leaders when he visits Northeast State Community College on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) on the main campus in Blountville.
To help their students compete in the global workplace, universities are under increasing pressure to find ways to teach students how to be an effective part of a team. The problem is finding compelling ways to align diverse groups of people with a common purpose in a synergistic and enjoyable way.
As a member of the band Rusted Root, Donovan co-wrote and performed “Send Me on My Way,” a song whose unforgettable whistle has been featured in the films “Matilda” and “Ice Age.”
Now a faculty member at Saint Francis University, Donovan works as a master facilitator, inspirational trainer and world-class musician with over 25 years of leadership and performance experience.
His touring work with Rusted Root provided ample opportunity to share the arena stages with rock legends such as Carlos Santana, members of Led Zeppelin and Sting, among others. Donovan is involved in research at Saint Francis where he has developed a training program that teaches occupational therapists, medical professionals, parents and teachers how to use percussion techniques as a complementary intervention for autistic and individuals with other disabilities.
Donovan’s program seeks to get a team of people to share a synergistic experience. His group RhythmTeam explains synergy and poses two questions to presentation participants:
What if “meeting the goal” meant that all team members would choose to reach beyond what most people believe is possible?
How might your students and our world improve if choosing selfless and courageous collaboration was a key part of their experience at your school?
Donovan and the RhythmTeam solve these issues by implementing a tried and tested, stepwise approach to leading group music creation designed for people with no prior musical experience. Participants creatively solve problems in a way that pushes the edges of their comfort zone in an atmosphere of safety.
Sponsored by Northeast State’s Cultural Activities Committee, Donovan’s presentation is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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