It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that hitting things can result in lowering stress levels, but for the first time it’s been proven that playing the drums can actually have a significant impact on people suffering from depression.
The Royal College of Music (RCM) have been conducting research into the benefits music can have on mental health and found that drumming can reduce depression by up to 38%. This is a pretty significant impact. RCM demonstrated this by taking 50 volunteers suffering from depression or anxiety, in a 10-week trial in which they played the drums in groups of up to 20 for one hour a week, and then measuring the results through taking samples of saliva after the session.
They found that as well as reducing depression, the drumming sessions saw a 20% drop in symptoms of anxiety, while empathy (or social resilience) had improved by 23%, mental well-being generally was up 16%.
So, what does this mean for musicians?
We’ve long known that playing an instrument can leave one with a sense of well-being and that sometimes the best days of the week can be the ones you have band practice, but does this mean playing an instrument leads to a happier existence overall? The results found by RCM suggested that even after the hourly sessions had finished occurring on a weekly basis – three months on – those who had taken part were still feeling better, most of which had stopped drumming entirely. This indicates that an hour a week spent playing music (preferably with others) can increase your sense of general mental well-being by 16% – surely, if anything is going to get you practicing once a week, this is it?
What do you think? Would you like to see more of the advantages that music can have on mental health? Or is it already obvious?