Beating The Odds: New Research Shows How Group Drumming Can Help to Build Social and Emotional Skills

November 30, 2010

The NAMM Foundation today announced the findings of a recent study that shows how group drumming can improve social and emotional behavior in low-income children. The study, that appears in the Oxford Journal: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, was conducted by the Pediatric Pain Program in the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

The study, funded by Remo Belli (longtime NAMM Member and founder of REMO, Inc.), demonstrates how group drumming can significantly improve such problem behaviors as:

  • Withdrawal/Depression
  • Posttraumatic Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
  • Oppositional Defiance
  • Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

The researchers, who conducted the study with fifth grade classrooms at Napa Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, reported that its results “underscore the potential value of the arts as a therapeutic tool.”

“I see drumming as an amazing potential solution to a number of growing social problems that young people experience,” said Ping Ho, Founding Director of UCLArts and Healing and principal investigator of the study. “Kids are dropping out of school like flies and many don’t feel engaged by the coursework. At the same time, arts programs and mental health services that help kids feel connected to school are being cut. Drumming is inclusive, culturally relevant, stress reducing, and does not bear the stigma of therapy. It is an ideal framework for social-emotional skill building."

The program described in the study integrates activities from contemporary drum circles and group counseling, and demonstrates the broad public health value of an arts-based program that builds core assets to improve a spectrum of problem behaviors. The study suggests that this group drumming program can increase student-counselor interaction and serve as a portal to mental health care for those with unmet needs. For more information about the study, visit

About NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.  For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit