Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, MA
Board Certified Music Therapist,
Director of Music Therapy & Wellness Programs,
Remo, Inc., Health Rhythms


8 Therapeutic Elements of Group Drumming
1. Drumming is accessible
  it provides successful experiences to everyone
- young to old, handicapped to normal, people with no music experience.
2. Drumming is good music
  it involves improvising beautiful music.
3. Drumming is expressive
  it helps to control and release emotions and stress.
4. Drumming is physical
  it involves coordination of the body and mind, and is good exercise.
5. Drumming is powerful
  the drum represents power so people feel empowered to play it.
6. Drumming is communication
  it is a universal language.
7. Drumming is bonding
  it creates a feeling of support and connection.
8. Drumming is cognitive
  it requires perception, attention, and memory.

Group Drumming Research
(Bittman et al, 2001)
Preliminary Groups:
  Resting control - reading magazines
  Listening control - listened to drumming
  Basic drumming - drumming teacher
  Impact drumming - more drumming, less teaching
  Shamanic drumming - meditation oriented
  *Composite drumming - success-building activities using percussion & drumming that combine 7 proven health strategies:
i. nurturing/support
ii. exercise
iii. expression
iv. guided imagery
v. spirituality
vi. camaraderie
vii. music making





What we studied
1. Natural Killer cells
  - specialized white blood cells of our innate immune system that seek out and destroy cancer cells and virally-infected cells.
2. Cytokines
  Interleukin II and Gamma Interferon proteins essential for cellular defense mechanisms produced by Type I Helper (Th1) cells.

What we found with composite group drumming
1. Natural Killer cell activity was boosted in subjects who drummed compared to controls.

Natural Killer cell activity stimulated by Cytokines (orchestrators or modulators of immune function) was boosted in subjects who drummed compared to controls.

GROUP EMPOWERMENT DRUMMING is a comprehensive whole-person evidence-based therapeutic approach.

Our Philosophy
Group drumming is not about inspiring successful drumming
  it's about inspiring successful living.
Group drumming is not about exceptional performance
  it's about exceptional support and personal expression.
Group drumming is not about teaching people to play
  it's about giving people permission to play.
Group drumming's best facilitators are not necessarily talented performers
  they are caring, compassionate and intuitive guides.
Group drumming is not about becoming an expert drummer
  it's about sharing for the sake of personal empowerment.

7 Steps for Facilitating Group Empowerment Drumming
1. Begin with the end in mind.
2. Discover your own rhythm first.
3. Listen to your group.
4. Connect on many levels.
5. Guide rather than lead.
6. Inspire rather than perform.
7. Create the healing metaphor.

Rhythm Activities
1. Shaker Breaker

Breaking the ice by doing this game where we pass the shakers around the circle to a rhythm.

2. Shaker Share

The facilitator begins a simple rhythm on their drum. Everyone makes up their own part & motion using shakers. One person is selected for the group to imitate. Then we return to everyone making up their own part again.
3. Play your Name

Have each play the rhythm of their name. Whole group echoes it back to them.
4. Guided Imagery Drumming

Start with a brief relaxation exercise. After beginning your story, provide a soft accompaniment.