The Neuroscience Of Drumming

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

Drummers have long been the brunt of many musician jokes and have been depicted as being only slightly smarter than the drums they’re hitting, but a number of new studies show that quite the opposite may be true – the drummer may actually be the smartest musician on the stage.  A Swedish study at the Karolisnka Institutet in Stockholm shows “a link between intelligence, good timing, and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.” As a result, drummers “might actually be natural intellectuals.”

Another by Baylor neuroscientist David Eagleman in conjunction with producer Brian Eno discovered not only a huge difference in brain activity from the random test subjects, but the fact that drummers have different brains from everyone else. What’s more, their ability to keep time helps them perceive the natural timing of the world around them that others, even other musicians, miss.

What many researchers have found is that drumming is actually therapeutic and can release endorphins that’s become known as a “drummer’s high.” Oxford psychologists have also found that the positive emotions gained from drumming leads people to work together in a more cooperative fashion.

Here’s a bit from an interview with The Clash drummer Topper Headon about therapeutic drumming.

The moral is to treat your drummer with respect. He or she just might be smarter than you.



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