Does Drumming Make You Smarter?Jan 05, 2023
Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer
12 drummers drumming … we made it! We are on our final day of our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! And it is certainly going off with a bang with our 12 drummers drumming.
My uncle played the drums in high school. He drove my mom nuts. It wasn’t just his practice sessions, but all the tapping on objects throughout the house and the fidgeting. The frantic energy was unceasing, according to her.
So, guess who wasn’t allowed to take drum lessons as a kid.
The resentment returned when I read about a study showing that a person’s IQ actually improves from drumming. E. Glenn Shallenberg at the University of Toronto showed that 6-year-olds improved their IQ by 7 points. Imagine the opportunities I would have had with that 7- point bump in IQ.
Why does drumming make us smarter? Mostly because it causes the brain to think in new ways, especially with more creative beats. If you ever had a metronome ticking away during piano lessons, you know drudgery of the tick, tick, tick. But drummers, especially rock and jazz drummers, build around the rhythm.
Also, drumming involves all four limbs at once in unconnected ways. If a person is right-handed, their left hand is doing all sorts of things while they aren’t even looking at it. While reading engages one part of the brain, and listening to a lecture another part, drumming involves the whole brain.
In fact, Michael That at Colorado State University has used drumming to treat a variety of neurological impairments such as stroke victims and Parkinson’s patients. He says rhythmic cues actually retrain the brain.
And this is before we get into all the studies about the health benefits of drumming, from reducing stress, dealing with chronic pain, to even killing cancer cells.
They say it’s never too late to start, so I’m going to put a drum kit on my list for Santa Claus next year.
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