8 Therapeutic Elements of Group Drumming
- Drumming is accessible
it provides successful experiences to everyone - young to old, handicapped to normal, people with no music experience.
- Drumming is good music
it involves improvising beautiful music.
- Drumming is expressive
it helps to control and release emotions and stress.
- Drumming is physical
it involves coordination of the body and mind, and is good exercise.
- Drumming is powerful
the drum represents power so people feel empowered to play it.
- Drumming is communication
it is a universal language.
- Drumming is bonding
it creates a feeling of support and connection.
- Drumming is cognitive
it requires perception, attention, and memory.
Group Drumming Research (Bittman et al, 2001)
- 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:
- guided imagery
- music making
What we studied
- Natural Killer cells
specialized white blood cells of our innate immune system that seek out and destroy cancer cells and virally-infected cells.
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
- 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.
- 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
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Discover your own rhythm first.
- Listen to your group.
- Connect on many levels.
- Guide rather than lead.
- Inspire rather than perform.
- Create the healing metaphor.
- Shaker Breaker
Breaking the ice by doing this game where we pass the shakers around the circle to a rhythm.
- 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.
- Play your Name
Have each play the rhythm of their name. Whole group echoes it back to them.
- Guided Imagery Drumming
Start with a brief relaxation exercise. After beginning your story, provide a soft accompaniment.