Drumming for Emotions

Designed for Children and Adolescents

  • Population Served – at-risk adolescents and children

  • For children ages 5-19

  • Drumming for Emotions® is an interactive creation in which your children will have an opportunity to learn to express a negative emotion positively and how to play a handdrum.

    Why Drumming For Emotions® Works

    Young adults are naturally drawn to the hand drum. It allows them to express their emotions in a way that is fun and entertaining, all the while learning to express their creative spirit in an atmosphere of support, encouragement and play.

    Once the young adults develop a comfort level with their new found skill, they quickly advance to skill levels that are challenging, and concepts which stretch them, cooperation and team spirit.

  • Drumming for Emotions workshop

  • Components of the Program

    Rhythm Games

    In an environment of humor and playfulness, children are invited to express rhythms through a number of activities, including through vocalized rhythms such as scat, body beat phrasing (clapping, stepping, dancing), and through the use of rhythm instruments, such as boomwhackers (sound tubes), and other rhythm instruments. These activities helps campers gently
    experience their own sense of rhythm through the use of their
    voice and their body.

    Personal Musical Expression

    Using a variety of percussion instruments such as Remo Soundshapes, dumbeks, ashikas, and djembes, children are encouraged to freely and creatively express themselves improvisationally through a series of easy to learn step-by-step games.

    Each child is next led through a series of percussive exercises with goals of building communication skills, expressing emotions, deepening concentration and reducing stress, among others. In addition, by emphasizing the importance of listening to others while playing, team spirit is built.

  • Drumming for Emotions workshop

    Drumming for Emotions workshop 3


“Who would have every thought of drums as a method of healing?  I never would have believed it I hadn’t had the opportunity to experience such an incredible program presented by Robert Lawrence Friedman.

Here is a group of 50 middle school students, in an urban community, one day prior to taking the statewide Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment.  These students were filled with much anxiety and for the most part, were so stressed that they were unable to absorb one more minute of preparation for the exam.  Though I didn’t know what to expect, their enthusiasm and attentiveness pleasantly surprised me.

The children were able to create music by working with the drums and rhythm instruments.  They were thoroughly involved in every activity and were totally cooperative and engaged when instructions were given.  It was a joy to see these young adults laughing, having fun, with a great deal of comraderie demonstrated through the program.  Several staff members joined in, and they too, greatly enjoyed and benefitted from the experience.”

Lisa Gartner
Professional Development Liaison
Lincoln Professional Development School
New Brunswick Public Schools


“I wanted to thank you for your wonderful presentation! My students enjoyed “drumming away their anger”. Many of my students commented to me the next day that they felt much more relaxed after the workshop. They really appreciated the experience. Aside from learning to connect with the energy of drum rhythms and vibration to disperse their excess energy, they also learned practical drumming terminology.

Later that day, I spoke to the Conflict Resolution Coordinator of Queens, Clarisse Brooks, and highly recommended your program. She had heard of your program; your reputation precedes you.”

Melissa Castanza, Teacher