Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27, 2013: Drumming Up Health...

Custom made congas of the great Jimmy Morales... figured Ali would LOVE them...


Hope you are all well.

Just spent a busy few days at the NAMM convention (National Association of Music Merchants) in Anaheim, CA.  Unfortunately, I wasn't really in the convention, I was part of a production crew filming  videos for a music learning online platform launching soon.  We were shooting interviews and lessons with premier drummers/percussionists from around the world for a "World Music Rhythms" segment they will have.  It was really inspiring, because the drum is found in every culture, and if you want to connect with anyone anywhere, you don't need to know their verbal language.  They speak rhythm!

Listening to performer after performer come back to the fact that the first rhythm you hear is the sound of your mother's heart beat in the womb was really moving.  It was like these guys and gals were reading off the same script, except they weren't on the set at the same time, they didn't have a script, and it didn't matter where they were from... how their culture viewed rhythm in their culture was as an integral part of life.  We heard this from percussionists from Peru, Iran, Syria, Lakota Tribe, Aztec, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, West Africa, Puerto Rico, and India.  I realized how divorced we are from music making as adults in the United States.  Last year, only about 6% of adults in the U.S. picked up and played a musical instrument.  That made me sad for the other 94%.  There is so much fun and camaraderie in making music - ESPECIALLY just for fun - that it escapes me why we don't do it more as a society.

Active music making lowers stress hormone levels, and actually stimulates immune system functioning.        
We intuitively know that music listening affects our mood positively, but music making affects our body positively.  So, tap clap or snap along with your favorite music, or sing or hum along when listening.  Just the activation of your body to make music triggers physiologic processes in your body that support your health.  Side effects include relaxation, catharsis, joy, social bonding if done with another/others... not bad.

So, sing in your shower, or in your car.  No one can hear you in your car, and no one cares.  Think about it; how many people do YOU watch to see if they're singing while YOU'RE screaming down the highway?  Let it RIP!  You can't get voted off American Idol, 'cuz you're not on it.  Tap on that steering wheel!  Be IN the music, not just a spectator.  You'll feel better, mentally and physically!

P.S.  Next Sunday night I'll be returning from a 2 day training on how to use group drumming with at-risk adolescents to help them cope, connect, and articulate non-verbally what is happening in their world.  It's called HealthRHYTHMS and it is created through a partnership with REMO, the drum company.  So, expect some more highlights next weekend as well.  Another place I really want to target is using group drumming in the workplace to help teams work out their stress and problems non-verbally!  How does the adage go?  We spend more waking hours in the week with those whom we with than with our families?  Having the work team get along makes life better at work, and at home.  If people can beat the stress out through a drum, they are more present when they get home and have that precious little window with their family in the evening.

See you next week!

God night.


  1. I have zero musical talent but have always admired those that do. I plan to encourage my 3 year old to play some instrument. It may not stick, but its worth a try!
    Have a great week Tim and family!
    Kelley from MO

  2. Hmmmm....very interesting.

    I'm sure you are already aware of the impact music makes in a special needs child. My now teenage daughter (high functioning autistic, but she's not my "autistic daughter" as I would never want her autism to define her) asked for one thing for Christmas this year. A REAL drum set...."Pearls", to be precise. Dad and brothers are vocally/musically inclined, but that's it. No instruments....except for her. She has always had an interest. From her own CD player as a toddler, listening and singing along to WeeSing and Play, to wanting a guitar while in grade school, to getting her enrolled in Music Therapy. She blossomed. She actually learned many chords and her teacher/therapist adapted music for many of her favorite songs. She has become an 80's "big hair" girl. Loves her some Def Leppard, Bret Michaels and Motley Crue among others.

    I've been unemployed for over a year (registered nurse) and knew Christmas was going to be "small" this year. Through a website, I found a travel drum set from a fella who happens to be part of a local band that has cut records, tours and has done pretty well. He was curious about who was "getting" the drums and I explained to him about my daughter. I thought he maybe would be a little disappointed because they weren't going to an aspiring, serious pro drummer. He has contacted me MANY times to see how it's going and how she likes them. He has been so, so, so kind and "into" the fact that she was beyond the moon happy with his drum set. Likewise, she thinks it is sooooo cool that they were a "real:" drummer's set and has since been linking up and following their music. He gave her a bunch of his drumsticks in a pouch that has his name and info on it. On Christmas morning, we took a picture of her with her new set and sent it to him. He has just been so, so, so great and enthused. She hasn't ever taken/isn't taking any lessons. I keep telling here once I get a job we will get her started. Non the less, she enjoys her drums immensely, pretending to play along with her favorite songs.

    It'd be interesting to read findings on music and perhaps why these kids respond so well.

    Musicians are special people.