MY FIVE REASONS WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO START DRUMMING!
I’m a percussionist so of course I’m biased, but there is a rapidly expanding body of research that tells us that drumming is really, really good for both the body and the mind and powerful tool for zapping stress and inducing a sense of wellbeing.
In these frenetic and fast passed times of iphone apps and constant online connectivity, mindful meditation may not be the most instinctive or accessible means of relaxation; everyone says we should do it, but why cant we ‘do’ it! It is important to recognise that we are all we are wired differently, and there are many different outlets for us to explore on our path to better sense of wellbeing.
Life is complicated. The world is more complicated than ever and life around us seems to move faster and faster…Yoga, mindful meditation and relaxation apps are best sellers in these uncertain times and are often the first port of call for finding a safe space to recuperate, rejuvenate and rebalance from the madness of everyday life. Statistics show that anxiety and depression have risen by one third in just over 4 years - it is clear that we are facing a significant and growing problem. Discovering new ways to target these escalating issues that face us as a society will provide great challenges, but also, opportunities. As technology continues to permeate our lifestyles and change our behavioural habits, new research is showing us that there are actions we can take to tackle these issues, one of which is drumming.
Something to consider…
The roots of drumming are truly ancient and the oldest evidence we have dates back to 6000BC. Archaeologists have uncovered more and more evidence that people have been drumming for millennia with numerous small cylindrical drums being excavated in southern parts of Turkey and Iran dating from 3000BC. Drumming was important then and is now. Take a moment to consider your favourite song or musical composition and if there is a drum beat or distinctively rhythmical element central to the song's structure. Drumming is older than any religion and some anthropologists believe that rhythms and sounds may have been a precursor to the languages we speak today as a form of communication.
Music is one of the few things we, as a human species, all share - it is universal and I do not know a single person who can deny the magic of musical experience. Learning to drum and setting out on the musical odyssey of rhythm and pulse has been such an enjoyable and therapeutic journey for me, and I want to share my 5 reasons why you should come join the party and give it a go!
MY 5 REASONS DRUMMING IS GOOD FOR YOU
1. DRUM OUT STRESS AND ANXIETY
Drumming is a great way to tackle stress and anxiety with research showing us that participating in group drumming activity boosts the body’s production of feel good endorphins. Tapping into the state of flow experienced during a group drumming session is a powerful and transformative feeling of being energised and focused at the same time …and it is hard to engage with much else, such as your trusty friend, the iphone! Research has also shown us that participants receiving blood tests before and after a one hour drumming session displayed a reversal in stress producing hormones, which proves that this is a powerful and transformative activity in managing stress and anxiety.
2. MAXIMISE YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION
Research is telling us that your brain loves it when you drum! Music is a powerful way to engage your brain in a full neurological workout, and you can expect the visual, auditory and motor cortices to work hard during a group drumming session. Drumming in particular promotes synchronous brain activity, which gets both sides of the brain working together whilst improving concentration, coordination and problem solving skills. The power of drumming is especially pertinent in the case of people living with dementia and acquired brain injury. Programmes like Therapeutic Instrumental Music Performance (TIMP) are having powerful transformative results in stroke survivors and their rehabilitation and music continues to be proven as a powerful means of communication for those living with various forms of dementia.
3. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
There is growing evidence that drumming can be linked to a reduction in pro-inflammatory immune response in your body and helps to induce the opposite effect through increasing the positive anti-inflammatory defences your body needs to stay healthy. According to Dr Barry Bittman, a cancer specialist who has conducted extensive research in the fields of music and neurology, group drumming has the potential to increase cells associated with killing cancer and other viruses. Tokyo Medical and Dental University have also conducted research that shows white blood cells increased significantly which is likely due to the slowing down and synchronisation of breathing during the sessions and thus, blood flow.
4. FEEL MORE CONNECTED
We are living in the age of connectivity. Through the quest for super speed wi-fi and the latest iphone ( is it iphone 8, or iphone X?!… sigh..) many will argue that we may have lost the plot… where is the intention to make real and meaningful connections to the people and places around us gone? Drumming is a super way to feel connected to others without speaking or acting and solely through the non-verbal pulsating rhythms created in the circle. Meet new people, laugh, listen, meditate and be part of creating an incredible shared experience for yourself and those around you.
5. ITS FUN!
Injecting fun into your life is a serious business! People who deprive themselves from fun and recreational experiences are more likely to commit crimes, be less productive and have low self-esteem. As mentioned above, I’m slightly biased as my whole life revolves around my passion for music and drumming though I am equally passionate about sharing this incredible experience with as many people as possible. The one thing I know for sure is that drumming will be one of the most fun and rewarding things to do- why not give it a try for yourself?!
©RUAIRI GLASHEEN 2017