Therapeutic drumming is an excellent way for children to learn self-awareness, listening skills, coordination of breath and movement, cooperation and patience. It is also a valuable channel for intense emotions and teaches containment of strong feelings and impulses that would otherwise become disruptive and destructive. Whether your child has low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, defiant behavior, learning disabilities, attention challenges or simply an abundance of energy, therapeutic drumming can be a valuable aid to learning and growth.
Drumming has been a wonderfully successful approach to working with kids who have trouble focusing and connecting with others in a satisfying way. Often, these kids have had so much failure in their lives that they come to identify themselves as being “no good.” A cycle of negative self-reinforcement occurs, often resulting in low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger problems and acting out. The personal power awakened by drumming helps to rebuild a sense of efficacy and self worth. The repetitive rhythm has a physiologically calming effect. It also builds valuable skills for processing and communicating information, and containing or channeling intense emotions and impulses.
Therapeutic drumming can help children in the following areas:
• Social Needs. Therapeutic drumming occurs as a collaborative, interactive process. Participating in drumming experiences can help a child work on skills such as turn-taking and sharing, as well as help them feel they are part of a group contributing towards a group process.
• Communication Needs. Playing a drum or percussion instrument can be a useful way to communicate nonverbally and to “listen” to another person’s nonverbal communication.
• Fine and Gross Motor Skills. This may almost seem self-evident, but different playing techniques can be used to help work on different fine and gross motor skills. This can even be true for developing lower extremity strength (e.g. imagine standing and playing a large conga drum).
• Emotional Needs. participating in a drumming activity can help a child feel safe enough to express his/her feelings. Additionally–and speaking from experience–there’s nothing much better for releasing anger than banging on a drum.
• Cognitive Needs. By participating in a drumming experience, children can be working on attention, impulse control, and decision-making skills.