From the Music Therapist: Drumming

Drumming is not only fun but music therapists use drumming as a tool to strengthen motor, cognitive and social skills for all children. Since drumming is multi-sensory, it facilitates greater engagement, encourages learning, brain function, and skill building all while having fun!

Here are some ways drumming has been used to support therapeutic goals in a therapeutic setting or at home:

  • Drumming and creating rhythms with your feet! This is a favorite for kids (and me). Go to any place with a hard floor surface, and place disco taps or anything you can think of that will create a sound on the bottom of your shoes (velcro and bottle caps is one idea). Then tap away and create rhythms with the feet. Another way is to hold drums at the feet for the student to kick the drum (like a kick drum!).
  • Drumming increases body awareness, kinesthetic development and motor skills.  Drumming can help strengthen upper body control, increase eye-hand coordination, particularly if you use more than one drum. Drumming with mallets helps with reaching, grasping, and fluidity of movement. 
  • Drumming increases attention and focus. Scientific research shows that the brain loves rhythmic patterns and the predictability of music. When playing or listening to music the whole brain (both right and left hemispheres) are engaged which creates a perfect tool for exercising attention and focus.
  • Drumming, and making music in general, is a social activity by nature. Drum activities are a great way to support listening skills, turn taking, taking cues from another peer, sharing, and to forge meaningful bonds between peers.

- Laura Ganguli, MA, MT-BC