Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Benefits of Hand Drumming

Benefits of Hand Drumming
by Laurie Loeb

Reprinted with permission

The benefits (to Alzheimer/dementia patients) of these rhythm activities, in addition to providing fun, include combating loneliness and isolation; exercising fine and gross motor skills and spacial and temporal relations; stimulating cognitive skills of perception, attention, concentration and memory; exercising creativity; increasing sense of productivity, self-esteem, and empowerment. The residents also find both relaxation and energy through the activities, memories are triggered to become more accessible, and mental alertness and clarity are increased during and immediately following the sessions.

Additionally, staff and residents' families derive much satisfaction from seeing these clients, historically so difficult to engage, joyously participating and positively responding.

The most remarkable aspect of this rhythm program is the high degree of repeated and sustained participation that does not occur with any other on-going activity offered to the residents. For people who suffer from Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia, this level of engagement is both rare and extremely valuable.

And then, for community drum circles:

  • The coming together of a diverse group of people previously unknown to one another, to share a common interest and activity, and good feelings.
  • A sense of collaboration and belonging, and the promotion of peace and harmony amongst the participants.
  • Provision of an intergenerational and family activity in which adults and children can participate together at their own respective levels of ability.
  • Provision of inter-cultural activity in which communication and collaboration can occur without words, and strangers can share innate rhythmic sensibilities.
  • Accessible to all, regardless of previous experience or lack thereof. All skill levels can participate simultaneously without the need to modify any level.
  • Good exercise for cognitive skills such as attention, perception, and memory.
  • Gross and fine motor skill exercise, including coordination and mind-body connections.
  • Opportunity to be introduced to, learn and play new instruments and musical forms.
  • Opportunity for self-expression and creativity.
  • Opportunity to produce one's own music, regardless of previous experience, or lack thereof.
  • Opportunity for live, active participation rather than passive entertainment (stupification?) by electronic devices such as TV, computer and video games, etc.
  • Opportunity for self-discovery and awakening of human potential.
  • Fun, fun, fun!!!!!

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