Group Drumming Research – Summary of Six Studies


1. Group Drumming Strengthens Immune System
Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects (2001) Journal of Alternative Therapy. Jan, 2001. p. 38-47. Bittman BB, Berk LS, Felten DL, Westengard J, Simonton OD, Pappas J, Ninehouser M

  • N=111 non-drummers. Tested five conditions: Listening Control, Drum circle, Impact Drumming, Shamanic, Composite Drumming
  • Natural Killer NK cell activity was boosted in subjects who drummed compared to controls.
  • Natural Killer cell activity stimulated by Cytokines (Interleukin II and Gamma Interferon – Helper (Th1) cells) was boosted in subjects who drummed compared to controls.
  • Drumming changed cellular biology and reversed the stress response.

2. Group Drumming Reduces Employee Burnout
Recreational Music-Making: A Cost-Effective Group Interdisciplinary Strategy for Reducing Burnout and Improving Mood States in Long-Term Care Workers (2003)
Advances in Mind-Body Medicine. Fall/Winter, 2003. p.4-15. Bittman MD, Karl T. Bruhn, Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC, James Westengard, Paul O Umbach, MA

  • N=112 employees in Long Term Care. Interdisciplinary teams drumming once a week for one hour for a 6-week series.
  • Significantly decreased burnout on Maslac Burnout Scale.
  • Improved employee mood states by 46% on POMS Profile of Mood States – sustained effect of 62% six weeks post intervention.
  • Economic Impact – saved $89,000 for typical 100-bed medical facility through employee retention and reduced turnover.
  • Total annual savings to the industry based on an 18.3% decrease in turnover at every long-term care facility is therefore projected at $1.46 billion.

3. Group Drumming Reduces Nursing Student Burnout
Recreational Music-Making: An Integrative Group Intervention for Reducing Burnout and Improving Mood States in First Year Associate Degree Nursing Students: Insights and Economic Impact. (2004) Bittman et al. International Journal of Nursing Education and Scholarship. Vol. 1 Article 12.

  • N = 75 first year associate degree nursing students.
  • Improved mood states by 28.1% on POMS Profile of Mood States.
  • Economic Impact projections – retention of 2 students annually per a typical 105-student program, resulting in a projected annual savings of $29.1 million to US Nursing Schools.
  • Projected cost savings of $322,000 for the typical acute care hospital, and more than 1.5 billion for the US healthcare industry.

4. Group Drumming strengthens Immune System in Japanese employees
Recreational music-making modulates natural killer cell activity, cytokines, and mood states in corporate employees. Wachi, et al. (2007) Medical Science Monitor. 13(2): p. 57-70.

  • N = 40 Yamaha employees. The RMM group demonstrated enhanced mood, lower gene expression levels of the stress-induced cytokine interleukin-10, and higher NK cell activity when compared to the control.

5. Group Drumming reduces Instrumental Anger in Adolescents.
Creative Musical Expression as a Catalyst for Quality of life Improvement in Inner-city Adolescents Placed in a Court-referred Residential Treatment Program (Bittman, et al) ADVANCES Spring 2009,VOL. 24, NO. 1 Creative Musical Expression

  • Adapted HealthRHYTHMS™ program
  • N = 52 ages 12 to 18. Pre/Post test matched controls.
  • Measured Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS)
  • Adolescent Psychopathology Scale (APS), Adolescent Anger Rating Scale (AARS), Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale, 2nd edition (RADS 2)
  • Improved scores in school/work role performance, total depression, anhedonia/negative affect, negative self-evaluation, and instrumental anger.
  • Extended impact – improvements 6 weeks after completion of the protocol.

6. Keyboard playing Reverses Stress on Genomic Level
Recreational Music-Making Modulates the Human Stress Response. Bittman et al. (2005) Medical Science Monitor.

  • Applied Biosystems and Yamaha.
  • Reversed 19 of 45 gene markers of stress response versus 6 of 45 in resting control and 0 of 45 in continued stress condition.
  • First study to develop an individualized genomic stress-induction signature.