Drumming is an ancient practice that has been used by cultures around the world for centuries. In recent years, however, the physical and mental benefits of drumming have become increasingly recognized by scientists and health professionals.
Studies have shown that drumming can have a positive impact on physical health, such as improving coordination and cardiovascular function, as well as mental health, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus and concentration, and even promoting social skills. In this article, we will explore the physical and mental benefits of drumming, as well as ways to incorporate it into your life for improved overall health and well-being.
First – what is encompassed by the term drumming?
Drumming can be expressed in a multitude of ways and can be played on a variety of instrument types using diverse techniques and can include playing with the hands, fingers, or sticks. It can be performed individually or as part of a group, and can range from simple rhythms to complex compositions.
Some of the popular drums include:
- Drum kit – a collection of drums and cymbals typically played with drumsticks, consisting of a bass drum, snare drum, tom-toms, hi-hat cymbals, crash cymbals, and ride cymbals.
- Djembe – a rope-tuned skin-covered drum played with the hands, originally from West Africa.
- Congas – tall, narrow, single-headed drums played with the hands, originating from Cuba.
- Bongos – smaller drums consisting of two connected drums played with the hands, also originating from Cuba.
- Tabla – a pair of small hand drums originating from India, consisting of a wooden drum and a smaller metal drum.
- Cajón – a box-shaped drum originating from Peru, played by sitting on it and hitting the front face with the hands.
Physical benefits of drumming
1. Improvement of coordination and motor skills
Playing the drums requires the use of multiple limbs, each performing different actions simultaneously, which strengthens neural connections between the brain and body. This increased neural connectivity translates to improved hand-eye coordination, balance, and motor skills.
Drumming also requires fine motor movements, such as manipulating drumsticks and foot pedals, which can enhance dexterity and precision. Furthermore, the physical demands of drumming can improve overall physical fitness, including cardiovascular health and muscle strength, which can further support improved coordination and motor skills.
2. Cardiovascular health
Drumming is a form of physical exercise that can benefit cardiovascular health. It requires continuous physical activity, which can increase heart rate and improve circulation.
According to a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine, participants who engaged in group drumming experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate variability. Additionally, the repetitive nature of drumming can have a meditative effect, reducing stress levels and further supporting cardiovascular health.
3. Physical fitness
Drumming can improve overall physical fitness by increasing endurance, strength, and flexibility. It requires the use of various muscle groups in the arms, legs, and core, providing a full-body workout and can lead to improved muscle strength and flexibility, as well as improved balance and coordination. Furthermore, since drumming is a fun and engaging form of exercise, it can be easier for many individuals to continue practicing and improving their physical fitness over time when compared to other physical exercises.
Mental benefits of drumming
1. Reduction of stress and anxiety
Drumming has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels through its meditative and rhythmic nature.
The repetitive nature of drumming can have a calming effect on the mind and body, reducing stress and anxiety levels. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, drumming can lead to a decrease in cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Furthermore, participating in group drumming can provide a sense of community and social support, which can also alleviate stress and anxiety.
2. Improvement of focus and concentration
Drumming also requires focus and concentration, which can improve over time with consistent practice. The act of drumming requires individuals to maintain a steady rhythm and tempo, which can improve focus and attention to detail.
3. Development of cognitive skills
Drumming can improve cognitive skills, including memory, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of drumming can also improve neural connectivity in the brain, strengthening communication between different regions and supporting cognitive function.
Additionally, drumming can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost confidence, which can further support cognitive development.
Common objections to starting playing the drums
Even with the benefits listed above many people talk themselves out of drumming. Here are some common objections and what you can do about them:
1. I have no musical experience and don’t know where to start
Many people may feel intimidated by the prospect of starting a new musical instrument, especially if they have no prior experience. However, there are many resources available for beginners, including instructional books, online tutorials, and lessons with a qualified instructor. Starting with simple rhythms and gradually building up skills can also help individuals gain confidence and make progress over time.
2. Drums are expensive and take up a lot of space
While it’s true that drum kits can be expensive and take up a fair amount of space, there are also more affordable and compact options available and you might be surprised at the average cost of a drum kit. For example, a practice pad and a pair of drumsticks can be used to develop rhythm and technique without the need for a full drum kit. Additionally, electronic drum sets can be a more space-efficient and cost-effective option for practicing at home and if you want your child to start playing their drums will be even cheaper.
3. I don’t have enough time to practice
Finding time to practice can be a challenge, especially for individuals with busy schedules. However, even short practice sessions can be beneficial and help individuals make progress over time. Consistency is key, and setting aside dedicated practice time, even if it’s only a few minutes a day, can help individuals develop skills and build confidence.
4. Drumming is too loud and may bother my neighbors
Drumming can be loud, and practicing at home may not be feasible for everyone. However, electronic drum sets can be a quieter option, and practicing with practice pads or brushes can also reduce volume. Additionally, finding a practice space outside of the home, such as a rehearsal studio or community center, can provide a dedicated space to practice without disturbing neighbors.
Drumming is an enjoyable and rewarding activity that provides a range of physical and mental benefits. From improving coordination and cardiovascular health to reducing stress and anxiety and developing cognitive skills, drumming can have a positive impact on overall well-being.
However, many individuals may feel intimidated by starting a new musical instrument, citing concerns such as lack of experience, cost, time, and noise. Fortunately, there are many resources available for beginners, including affordable and space-efficient options, dedicated practice spaces, and online tutorials. With consistent practice and dedication, individuals can overcome these objections and experience the many benefits of drumming for themselves.
So why wait? It’s time to take action and get yourself a drum!