Drumming Therapy
Healing Through Rhythm and Sound

Drumming Therapy taps into layers of the mind and body that other modalities cannot. Studies have shown that repetitive drumming changes brain wave activity, inducing a state of calm and focused awareness.

drumming therapy

"Rhythm is the soul of life.

The whole universe revolves in rhythm.

Everything and every human action

revolves in rhythm."

- Babatunde Olatunji

The first sound we ever heard while still in our mother's womb, was the beating of her heart, and the rhythm of her breath. No matter our race, gender, age, religion or belief system, this common experience exists for all human beings.

When newcomers are first introduced to drumming as adults, they often say "oh, I don't have any rhythm," in an attempt to excuse themselves for their imagined inadequacy.

The truth is: We All have Rhythm!

Rhythm is our natural inheritance. It exists in our bodies, our hearts, our breath. It exists in the vibration of atoms, the cycles of the seasons, the ticking of clocks, the orbit of the earth. There is no part of creation that is without rhythm!

Drumming is a practice that spans the globe and has a presence in every culture. It has been used for centuries in rituals, ceremonies, communication, rites of passage, music and dance, celebration, healing, community building, and cultural events.

Call Ben Schwarcz to schedule a session or consultation in the Santa Rosa, CA area: 707.326.5566

Drumming Therapy is a method of utilizing the natural power of rhythm and sound and applying it to an individual or group for the purpose of healing. A truly holistic healing approach, group drumming breaks down social barriers, promotes freedom of expression, non-verbal communication, unity and cooperation. Drumming awakens dormant emotions and unexplainable feelings of excitement, peace, and ecstacy. It can elevate the mood, decrease anxiety, and stress, and it boosts immune system functioning and benefits physical health.

There is a growing body of research on the therapeutic effects of group drumming. Barry B. Bittman, MD has published some ground-breaking studies showing the benefits to the immune system, stress levels and mood.

Additionally, in a 2016 study shows positive effects of group drumming over a 6-10 week span, with alleviation of symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Inflammation, and Increases in Social Resilience and Anti-Inflammatory Immune response (which correlates with improvements in mood). Read more about the Group Drumming Therapy Study Here.

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch this video. This kid is 2 years old, playing djembe - a West African drum - better than I can play after 15 years! Watching this kid drum is pure poetry -- soak it in -- it will make you laugh with joy and amazement (especially if you know the subtle skill required to play good djembe). Enjoy!

His 4 year old brother is unbelievable too!:


Drumming Therapy is an excellent way for children to learn self-awareness, listening skills, coordination of breath and movement, cooperation and patience. It is also a valuable channel for intense emotions and teaches containment of strong feelings and impulses that would otherwise become disruptive and destructive. Whether your child has low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, defiant behavior, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder or simply an abundance of energy, drumming therapy can be a valuable aid to learning and growth.

Drumming has been a wonderfully successful approach to working with kids who have trouble focusing and connecting with others in a satisfying way. Often, these kids have had so much failure in their lives that they come to identify themselves as being "no good." A cycle of negative self-reinforcement occurs, often resulting in low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger problems and acting out. The personal power awakened by drumming helps to rebuild a sense of efficacy and self worth. The repetitive rhythm has a physiologically calming effect. It also builds valuable skills for processing and communicating information, and containing or channeling intense emotions and impulses.

Drumming Therapy Is a Powerful and Effective Way To Learn Valuable Coping Skills:

  • Ability to focus inward as well as outward
  • Develop self-awareness and self-esteem
  • Mastery of breath and movement
  • Ability to stay "on task"
  • Improve listening skills
  • Increase Frustration Tolerance
  • Channel aggressive/destructive impulses into creative and positive activity
  • Develop self-control, patience and cooperation


Drumming therapy begins on a weekly or twice weekly basis, usually for 30-minute sessions. The instruction is one to one. As focus and frustration tolerance improve, sessions may be extended to 60 minutes. I have a wide variety of pan-cultural percussion instruments that can be used. Available choices are limited in the beginning to avoid over-stimulation.

THIS IS NOT A MUSIC CLASS. Drumming Therapy is not focused on learning traditional music. The goals are therapeutic. Drumming Therapy is intuitive, spontaneous, and highly personalized. It allows for the greatest amount of creativity and self-expression within a structured and disciplined process.

Although some drum technique is taught, the focus is on the development of coping skills. Identification and expression of feelings is practiced both verbally and through the drums. Firm and consistent limits are set in order to maximize learning.

Drumming begins with the basics and progresses at the child's own natural pace. Gradually, as listening skills improve and the sense of natural rhythm develops, exercises may become more complex.

Eventually, it may become possible to drum with other kids who have also been receiving individual drumming therapy. Through group drumming, newly learned skills are applied to the development of social skills.

Participants of all ages describe feeling "calm and centered" after drumming, and children show a visible decrease in arousal and impulsive energy after participating in drum therapy. Kids look forward to drumming sessions sessions and outside incentives on not needed to encourage participation. Sessions are designed to be fun, interesting, and therapeutic with life-skills lessons woven into the process.


I am available to work with individuals using drumming to deepen the process of therapy and also facilitate drum circles for people of all ages.

Other possible applications for drumming groups:

  • Team-building for businesses
  • Drumming groups for hospitals, assisted living homes for the elderly, cancer support centers, schools, youth centers.
  • Private parties

    Drumming is an age old practice which science is now verifying as a valid method of healing. Studies have shown that T-Cells (responsible for the immune system) increase after just one drumming session. Many physical as well as psychological maladies are improved by drumming. And anyone who has ever drummed in a group will attest to the joy, exhilaration, and feeling of connection that is instantly created in such a circle.

    Call Ben Schwarcz, MFT, Licensed Psychotherapist for more information: 707.326.5566

    Learn more about the powerful lessons, experiences, community building and healing that can be experienced through Therapeutic Drumming.

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