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Special Needs: Drumming with Angels

Evidence-Based, Therapeutic Approach to Wellness


Evidence suggests that there are multiple physical, physiological and cognitive benefits for individuals with special needs who participate in hands-on music-making programs, like group therapeutic drumming, regardless of the individual’s health conditions.


Our evidence-based group therapeutic drumming and music-making programs are a great way to meet the needs of individuals with special needs.

  • Social Needs. Group therapeutic drumming often occurs as a collaborative, interactive process. When facilitated correctly, participating in drumming experiences can help an individual work on social skills, as well as help them feel they are part of a group contributing towards a group process.

  • Creative Self-Expression. Playing a drum or percussion instrument can be a useful way to express oneself creatively and to communicate nonverbally while “listening” to another person’s nonverbal creative expression and communication.

  • Fine and Gross Motor Skills. Different playing techniques can be used to help work on different fine and gross motor skills. This can even be true for developing lower extremity strength. 

  • Emotional Needs. Participating in a drumming activity can help an individual feel safe enough to express his/her feelings. A study with individuals with special needs found that participants in a weekly music-making group were less anxious, less distressed and had higher self-esteem.

  • Cognitive Needs. By participating in a drumming experience, individuals with special cognitive needs can improve attention, impulse control, and decision-making skills.

  • Improving self-esteem. Drumming is fun. Children of all ages love to make sounds from a drum and this technique has long proven a great one in musical therapy. Children have fun and improve their self-esteem at the same time to become more confident in expressing themselves in their daily life.

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