A study published by Barry Bittman, MD found that group drumming session alters neuroendocrine and immunologic measurements in the participants – this means a boost to your immune system. Drumming was chosen for this study because percussion activities can be an inclusive exercise that requires little musical training or experience.
During small group instrument improvisation sessions, such as at MEMORY PLUS through Alberta Health Services and FUNDRUM at the JB Music Therapy Centre – music therapists ensure every group member receives the personalized care they require to ensure the participant reaches their desired goals – improved mood, decreased stress, gross motor development, stroke rehabilitation or lessening social anxiety.
There is a secondary benefit to all these goals – and that is that drumming may just help you stay a bit healthier this winter season. Dr. Bittman found that group drumming strengthened the immune system by increasing Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. It also showed less human stress response on the genomic level, not just reducing but reversing 19 genetic switches that turn on the stress response believed responsible in the development of common diseases.
Keep in mind that although music can certainly be made and listened to alone, when used within a music therapy group context, like group improvisation, it can also help improve feelings of social bonding. Drumming also increases contact, coordination, and cooperation with others.
According to researchers, when we try to synch with others musically we tend to feel more connected and uplifted towards those people. Coordinating movement, such as beating a drum, shaking percussion instruments, or even just tapping our toes with another person releases endorphins in the brain that trigger warm and positive feelings.