Tips for Drumming and Health

Robert Lawrence Friedman

Conscious Drumming

One of the ways of elevating your drumming from enjoyment to health is through conscious intention. For instance, as you are drumming, think about a negative feeling, such as anger, or sadness. Imagine that as you hit your drum, you are releasing any negative emotion from your body, including stress. Visualize the feeling traveling through your hands, into the drum. As you release one blocked emotion, other emotions may follow. The emotion of anger, when released, may lead to sadness, then to joy.

Research shows that it is really important to let out negative emotions out. For instance, people who were self-described loners who had no outlet for expressing their emotions were shown to be fifteen times more likely to develop some form of cancer. So finding an outlet to release negative emotions is very important, and the drum can be a perfect vehicle to let your emotions out.

Affirmation and Drumming

Another way of using the drum as a vehicle for health is through the use of affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that you say or think. Affirmations become more fun when you drum the syllables of the words. It is possible to create complex rhythms by attaching words to the beats. It seems that this method helps to imprint the positive statements into our mind. One example of an affirmation to drum with is “I am powerful, loving and wise.” If you play the rhythm of that syllabically, you create a particular rhythm. The more words you add, the more complex the rhythm becomes. Make up your own affirmations based on how you would like to feel about yourself.


The next time you are feeling stressed, slow down your body’s rhythms through playing a very slow single beat rhythm on a drum. It seems that as we play the drum slowly, the body’s rhythms seem to match the beat we are playing. Conversely, if you are feeling relaxed, by increasing the tempo you can energize yourself.

The drum enables us to remember that when we are in synch with ourselves we can literally feel it. Rhythmic harmony is a tangible internal experience — so allow yourself to use the drum to feel better and trust your process. The simple act of realizing you have the ability to use the drum as a vehicle for health is a very empowering one, so have fun and as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string.”