Music therapy has shown significant improvements for those with disabilities and impairments that affect daily living. From newborn babies to the elderly, music reaches places within the mind that ordinary medicine or therapies cannot touch. Schools may be the easiest system to expose children to the benefits of music and drumming therapy. Research has shown that drumming is an effective way to increase the access of music therapy for children, citing the ease with which children approach drums with more curiosity and less fear than other musical instruments. As such, the benefits of a drumming program and classroom percussion instruments in schools can help with social, communication, academic, emotional, cognitive and even fine and gross motor impairments.
Building social skills is an important part of school's unwritten curriculum. Children often learn through modeling skills and behaviors, from sharing toys or crayons to accepting and appreciating the differences in other students. Drumming provides a hand-on demonstration of how to work as a group, interact on an equal level and become a full part of the cooperative illustration that the myriad of drums can provide as students each add a unique voice to a collective song. Furthermore, these social skills help build self-confidence as well as a feeling of belonging among peers.
For students with communication disabilities, whether from disorders like autism or ADD, emotional or language problems, drumming gives a voice to those who struggle with one of the most important life skills. The action of drumming and the rhythms that are played can easily be translated into a style of communication through facilitated drumming or "call and response" methods geared to the age and abilities of the children.
Academically and cognitively, students benefit from music and drumming programs through the bilateral access of the brain. Music stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain, producing better results in standardized test scores and understanding of subjects like math and science. In addition, drumming helps with decision-making skills, impulse control and increases memory.
Through the various drums available such as Djembes that promote core strength and Congas that require students stand while playing, drums help with gross and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. The action of drumming itself, either with the hands, sticks or mallets and the physical demands for holding and steadying drums, increases the ability of children to physically move and function on par with peers. Drumming also provides a tactile hobby that eliminates dependence on television, video games and computers for external stimulation.
One of the greatest benefits of drumming and music is the emotional expression it allows. Music and drumming give the player the ability to interpret joy into upbeat rhythms or anger into the heavy and rapid pounding of the drums. This can be especially beneficial for students facing depression, emotional crisis or trauma, providing a healthy and effective means to process difficult emotional responses that can otherwise erupt in destructive behaviors.
and drumming is an essential part of the lives of children, helping to
increase the ability of students to achieve academically as well as
provide many therapeutic benefits for those with various disabilities
and disorders. From communication and emotional expression to
fine-tuning physical and motor disabilities, music and drumming give
children benefits that help in school, at home and provide a system of
coping and development that can last a lifetime.
NAMM.org - Drumming helps kids work as a group
NAMM.org - Music stimulates the brain, producing better results in standardized test scores
Psychology Today: Drumming Helps with Decision-Making Skills
Psychology Today: Drumming helps with decision-making skills, impulse control and increases memory