So proud to have been featured
on the cover of Drums Etc!
GETTING HEALTHY PLAYING DRUMS
SEE THE VIDEO LESSON HERE!
Drumming and Health go together hand in hand. One impacts the other creating a cycle that feeds itself and grows over a lifetime, creating ‘You 2.0’! Drumming has a profound impact on our brains, our energy, and our state. Much of this is still a mystery, but with scientists doing studies like putting an electrode cap on Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart to study the brain in real time as he performs a concert, we are understanding more what is actually happening when we drum. Even though the science is new, humans have been exploiting this for centuries.
Drumming through history has always had a strong connection with higher states and connecting us with our universe, from communicating with the gods, to going into altered consciousness. For me, I’ve noticed that drumming has a profound effect of my state every time, it never fails to amaze me! I can be drained after a long day, and still get that same boyish rush of energy I had when I was a kid. Music and the drum will evaporate stress and worry every time. Having a strong feeling of determination, attitude, and grit to overcome challenges you didn’t think you could face is empowering and invigorating, having a major impact on our minds, bodies, emotions, intuition, and spirituality.
I love teaching, it’s incredible to have the opportunity to empower others with a shared love of drumming and music. Many students I have guided have had challenges they are overcoming to get to the music they cherish, like Tourettes, Asperger’s, and ADHD. Drums can be an effective beacon to a goal, leading the student along the path fueled by passionate determination. We all can use more FOCUS in our lives, one of the highest tools of success. Drumming works our focus muscle by watching and listening, coordinating the body and brain to dance together as one. Many have shared their profound stories of loved ones with Alzheimer’s having moments of clarity after experiencing drumming and music.
I have been lucky to spend time with some the elders of the craft, like Jim Chapin, Ed Shaughnessy, Jim Blackey, and others. You always see a childlike enthusiasm, lots of joyful community participation (also known as ‘the hang’), and laughter! The best drummers know not to take this TOO seriously, as much as we love it… after all, we are only hitting things!! (Which makes us a little crazy?) I couldn’t believe recently seeing Alex Acuna perform, and then finding out he recently turned 70 years young… what?!? We have found in our drumming the elixir, the fountain of youth!
The body and brain ARE rhythm. Our inner world is a dance, and our body wants to work in harmony. Any dis-ease that occurs, is usually a breakdown in our bodies natural rhythms, and drums have the power to unite the body and mind. Every time you hit a drum, you have access to a virtual pharmacy of multi-vitamins, anti-depressants, mood enhancers, and energy boosters, all for free! Dopamine and endorphins are released into the blood making you feel awesome, and drumming also lowers cortisol in the body, the stress hormone that corrodes your health. Drumming also aligns brain waves giving a feeling of serenity, creativity and calmness, promoting peace and well being in any group. This is known as FLOW or ‘The Zone’, which drummers live for. The science is still new on exactly how and why this is happening, but check out the work Mickey Hart and others have done on this emerging field. The book Spark by John Ratey also goes into what is happening in the body and brain during coordinated movement and exercise.
I was a small kid uninterested in sports in school, not relating with the athletic crowd during this inevitably awkward time. Drums gave me something physical to focus on, giving me a daily sweaty workout. I had no idea I was regulating my mood and dealing positively with stress, I just knew I was learning and having fun playing drums! I had something to build on and express myself with, something that made me feel special. The elated yet calm feeling afterwards became a familiar side effect to look forward to. I couldn’t wait to do it again! Why not have fun while improving your health?
What does drumming improve? Focus, energy, team building, confidence, and discipline. We see in our health improved breathing, muscle conditioning, stress management, and a stronger immune system. Drumming is for everyone and is all inclusive, the world’s universal language enjoyed throughout history. We all have access to this no matter your age, skill level, income, race, or where you live, and this truly creates an ever growing global village, united in rhythm and living life to the fullest.