Drumming helps schoolchildren diagnosed with autism

Drumming for one hour a week can help children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school, according to a study published in 2018.

The research, led by the University of Chichester and University Centre Hartpury, showed that the students’ ability to follow their teachers’ instructions improved significantly, and their social interactions with peers and school staff also benefitted.

Twelve pupils from Milestone School in Gloucester, took part in a 10-week drumming programme consisting of two 30-minute sessions each week (while six matched pupils received no drumming instruction). This is the latest research undertaken by the academics, known collectively as the Clem Burke Drumming Project – that includes the iconic Blondie drummer – and is aimed at demonstrating the value of the musical instrument to school pupils requiring additional education support.

Class teachers evaluated the behavioural changes within the classroom across the 10-week drumming intervention, with preliminary results showing:

  • A vast improvement in movement control while playing the drums, including dexterity, rhythm, timing.
  • Movement control was also enhanced while performing daily tasks outside the school environment, including an improved ability to concentrate during homework.
  • A range of positive changes in behaviour within school environment, which were observed and reported by teachers, such as improved concentration and enhanced communication with peers and adults.

Lead researcher Dr Marcus Smith, a Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology at University of Chichester, said: “This is a unique and remarkable research project that has demonstrated the positive impact on a pupil’s health and wellbeing following rock drumming practice. Rock drumming as a potent intervention for individuals experiencing brain disorders, such as autism, is fascinating and I am delighted that it builds upon the pioneering work undertaken by colleagues from the Clem Burke Drumming Project.”

SOURCES:

Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180914084829.htm

Taylor & Francis Online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20473869.2018.1429041

Bigger Better Brains: https://biggerbetterbrains.com/news-post/541/

DETAILS:

BENEFIT:COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT & MANUAL DEXTERITY
TARGET GROUP:CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
AGE:2-16 YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE:DRUMMING
TYPE OF STUDY:ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED:18
PERIOD OF STUDY:10 WEEKS
DATE:2017
PLACE:UK

Photo: thanks to the Clem Burke Drumming Project

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