Tag Archives: creative workshops

It’s Official: Drumming IS Good For Your Health!

I recently read a BBC news article which links drumming to improved health although an obvious response is “It may be good for your health but what about your ears?” Bear with me for the next 5 minutes.

Over recent years there has been a lot of interest in links between music and health, and music and brain activity. Only today I read an article in our local paper that two guitarists playing a piece in unison generate the same brain wave patterns.

But my interest really is in the field of drumming and percussion as I run workshops in these for a wide range of clients: schools, businesses, community etc.

Over the years I have been struck how often people change during a workshop:

  • Inhibitions decrease
  • Confidence grows
  • People begin to listen to each other
  • People respond to each other
  • Those who are shy may become leaders
  • People begin to smile and feel great about themselves (no small order when your group comprises young adults who feel neglected by society)!

A blind friend of mine has commented more than once, “I really enjoy these events because it feels as if my head has been hoovered clean of the rubbish that was there before I started.”

So, when I cam across the following article it was great to see that others are experiencing similar responses and in this particular article, the benefits are even wider and deeper.

Here’s the BBC article. It makes very interesting and encouraging reading:

As presented on the BBC, 10th February 2009

Could a natural rhythm – which some experts believe we all possess – be a cure for a variety of health problems?

Some certainly think so. Musician Simon Lee, from Kent, is called on to teach drumming to patients with problems ranging from addiction to autism, and learning difficulties to mental health issues. He has even offered help to terminally ill patients needing palliative care. And he says the results are amazing.

Experts believe that rhythmic drumming can aid health by inducing a deep sense of relaxation, reducing stress, and lowering blood pressure.

Drumming has a number of benefits,” said Simon. “It can energise or relax. It can foster a sense of playfulness or release anger and tension. It can also help in the conquering of social isolation and the building of positive relationships.”

One patient, an alcoholic, told Simon her drumming sessions had helped her so much it had given her the inspiration to continue with a gruelling detox course. “She said when she came into the clinic she was extremely negative and the first two or three days the treatment was purely about detox and heavy stuff,” said Simon.

The drumming was the first time she engaged and smiled.” She said “I came out of myself and saw that I could survive.

Simon, who also carries out drumming sessions for the general public, said there was a growing interest in the therapeutic effect it could have, both on the individual and the community. “There is strong evidence to suggest that drumming may actually be a healing activity,” he said. “Some have gone so far as to prove that time spent drumming can positively affect our immune systems, levels of stress and psychological well being.”

Until next time …

The Power of Music to Change the Label

Don’t you just love the way we label people … loser, nobody, somebody, hero … etc.

But we make these decisions with very little supportive evidence .

We look at people, perhaps at what they’ve done (or not done) and then we decide on their value, which is incredibly subjective and can be based on such strong scientific principles as ‘How we feel’!!

I recently ran a drumming workshop with a group of people aged from 19 into their early 20’s. If you were to put labels on them, many would have opted for terms like ‘nobodys‘.

In fact if you asked them who they were, they’d probably tell you that they are nobodys (based on what society has told them) because they are a group who have struggled with school and come from backgrounds which have resulted in such low self esteem that they rate their value as zero.

BUT they are one of the BEST groups I have ever run workshops for!  Period.

Sure, many were shy but they were great listeners, sensing changes in feel and rhythm, and when we stopped, everyone stopped on exactly the same beat. Some were prepared to try solos. They were willing to give it their best shot.

Here are some labels I would use for this group:

  • Winners
  • Brave
  • Enthusiastic
  • Great learners
  • Listeners
  • Smilers
  • Relaxed (eventually!)
  • Contributors
  • An inspiration to me

And if that is being a nobody then I want to be one too!

Thank you all for making it such a great session and teaching me what it takes to overcome personal barriers and uncertainties to make things rock!

You are an inspiration and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are a nobody.

You have more going for you than you may realise for some time. But once you can grasp how special you all are and what talents you have, then you will see yourselves very differently.

I just pray that the rest of us will give you chance to shine as you did in our workshop.


I was greatly encouraged to receive the following comments from one of the youth leaders after the event …

“I thought the session was tremendous. It was a great environment for our guys, many of whom have low self-esteem. The way they were able to join in with the session without feeling pressured worked really well. Overall, the evening was a memorable event for our guys and a very enjoyable one!”   TS; Youth Leader