Is playing drums healthy?
Is playing drums healthy?
Dr. Annemarie Seither-Preisler is a psychologist and biologist at the Centre for Systematic Musicology in Graz (Austria) and deals with the effects of rhythm and music on the human brain.
How does learning an instrument affect the brain? Is playing the drums healthy for children’s development?
Studies were conducted on the initiative: Jedem Kind ein Instrument, a cultural education program in elementary- and special schools in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
The joint project Amsel (audio and neuroplasticity of musical learning) led by Ms. Seither-Preisler in cooperation with the University of Heidelberg investigates whether the cognitive development of children can be positively influenced by early musical training. One focus is on the question of whether active music-making also has a positive effect on children with developmental problems (dyslexia, ADHD). The main aim of the research project is to investigate how regular music-making affects hearing and non-musical skills such as creativity, intelligence, attention, reading, spelling and arithmetic.
Learning to play a musical instrument improves literacy and concentration and reduces hyperactivity. The present results show positive effects in the areas of auditory perception, attention and language competence and also show that making music accelerates the development of auditory functions in the brain.
More information on the scientific work:
Here is a lecture by Annemarie Seither-Preisler at the TEDx event in Graz:
The Canadian percussionist Pamela Lynn-Seraphine deals specifically with the use of drums in connection with mediation, the so-called rhythmic entrainment. Ritual drumming and rhythmic prayer are common in cultures around the world and used in religious ceremonies to induce trance states. But since the counterculture movement of the 1960s, scholars have shied away from studying the almost mystical implications of musical rhythm. Recent interest in sleep, meditation and hypnosis research has prompted scientists to take a closer look at music and rhythm. A small but growing body of scientific evidence suggests that music and other rhythmic stimuli can predictably alter mental states and even heal damaged areas of the brain.
What is Rhythmic Entrainment?
– refers to the physiological synchronization between the drummer and the rhythm, which is repeated and expanded over and over again.
– Rhythmic entrainment as a meditative practice is based on the concept of using rhythmic phrases as a meditation technique. These phrases are used as rhythmic mantras. It’s the same concept as using mantras in meditation
– only rhythmic phrases are used here. The repetitive rhythms create right and left brain activity in which the brainwaves are in theta state. In this particularly relaxed state, creativity and the healing of psychosocial, psychological and emotional wounds are promoted.
Applications can be found, for example, for:
– stress relief
– dopamine output – replacement e.g. for drug addiction, depression
– Delta-Waves (0.5 – 3.5 Hz): Sleep
– Theta-Waves (3.5 – 7.5 Hz): Access to the Subconscious
– Alpha-Waves (7.5 – 12.5 Hz): Relaxation
– Beta-Waves (12 – 38 Hz): full awareness
– Gamma-Waves (38 Hz +): Mental peak performances, still little researched.
More Information: www.neurodrumming.com
Here is a talk by Pamela Lynn-Seraphine:
Mickey Hart, Drummer of The Grateful Dead
Mickey Hart, the drummer for the San Francisco based psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead, has teamed up with neurologist Adam Gazzaley to study how the brain deals with memory, attention and aging. Gazzaley wowed the crowd at a lecture by putting an EEG on Mickey Hart while he played a drums. The reactions in the brain were shown in real time on huge screens in the hall. Mickey Hart on the project: “This is about decoding the rhythm code, our genome project, so to speak. If we know what rhythm really does, we can control it for health reasons and use it medically for diagnostic purposes. For example, to be able to reestablish a connection between the synapses that are interrupted in Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. I have worked in my field for many years and so has Adam. It is a handshake between science and art. Life is all about rhythm and the brain is the rhythm center.”
Fitness and playing Drums
Clem Burke, the drummer for US new wave band Blondie, was recognized by the university for his work with the Clem Burke Drumming Project, set up in 2008 in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Chichester. The project is based on using scientific methods to study the effects of drumming on physical health.
The heart rate climbed up to 190 beats per minute at times during the tests. Musicians, particularly drummers in Rock bands, are more physically demanding than professional footballers, according to research from the UK’s University of Gloucestershire and Chichester. Sports scientists from Chemnitz University of Technology are now using the same measurements in Germany and are adding other research fields to the study, which is unique in the world.
There are now many other studies on this topic. Playing the drums or learning another instrument is definitely good for your health. However, it is important to use hearing protection when playing the drums! Otherwise you can seriously damage your hearing in the long run!
Mag.art. Florian Stöger
- IGP – Jazz drums/percussion instrumental studies at the university of music and performing arts in Vienna. Jazz drum lessons with Manfred Krenmair, Prof. Fritz Ozmec and Prof. Mario Lackner, classical percussion lessons with Prof. Oliver Madas.
- Guest Student at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles/Hollywood.
- Private lessons and Masterclasses with: Thomas Lang, Jojo Mayer, Bernard Galane, Dave Elitch, Gorden Campbell.
- Many years of teaching expierience: Drum teacher at the Musik- und Kunstschule Waidhofen an der Ybbs, VHS Heiligenstadt and Borg Krems an der Donau. Since 2020 Drum I am the drum teacher at Borg St. Pölten.
- Many concerts with Coverbands und songwriters different musical styles.
- Teacher at the Vienna Drum School