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Studies on Group Drumming for Mental Health

This blog takes a dip into what studies reveal about the impact of group drumming on health.

Author: Nitin Virat - Drum Circle Facilitator

Group drumming, also known as drum circles, is a form of music therapy that involves a group of people coming together to play drums and percussion instruments in a collaborative and non-judgmental setting. Research has shown that group drumming can positively impact mental health, particularly for individuals with anxiety, depression, and stress.

One study published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that group drumming interventions significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in a group of older adults with cognitive impairment (Freedman et al., 2008). Similarly, a review of the literature published in the journal Arts in Psychotherapy found that drumming interventions can effectively reduce anxiety, stress, and negative emotions, and increase positive affect and social connections (Lai et al., 2016).

Other research has found that group drumming can improve social connections and feelings of community, which can be beneficial for mental health. For example, a study published in the journal Music and Medicine found that group drumming improved social connections, self-esteem, and mental well-being in a group of at-risk adolescents (Erkkilä et al., 2011).

In addition to its effects on mental health, group drumming has also been shown to have physical health benefits. For example, a study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills found that group drumming can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce blood pressure in older adults (Henchy et al., 2010).

It is worth noting that the research on group drumming and mental health is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand the potential benefits of this intervention. However, the existing research suggests that group drumming can be a useful tool for improving mental health and well-being.


  • Freedman, M. R., Thaut, M. H., & Farmer, S. E. (2008). Group drumming and cognitive impairment in older adults. Journal of Music Therapy, 45(4), 365-379.

  • Lai, J., Gooding, P., & Gooding, H. (2016). A review of the therapeutic effects of drumming interventions. Arts in Psychotherapy, 48, 22-29.

  • Erkkilä, J., Rantanen, P., & Zuckerman, M. (2011). Group drumming and psychological well-being: A pilot study among at-risk adolescents. Music and Medicine, 3(4), 213-217.

  • Henchy, A., & White, T. (2010). Group drumming, cardiovascular fitness, and blood pressure in older adults. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 111(3), 827-839.

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