Music has been used as therapy for veterans recovering from their trauma.
Now the Royal College of Music (RCM) has concluded that group drumming can reduce depression by up to 38%.
In a ten-week trial 50 plus volunteers who suffered from depression or anxiety played the drums in groups of 20 for one hour a week.
The experience reduced depression and resulted in a 20% drop in their symptoms of anxiety. In addition their social resilience – a key factor in dealing with stress and anxiety – rose by almost a quarter and general well-being by 16%.
The professor of performance science at the RCM Aaron Williamson said “We went with drumming because they are quite easy for most to play without too much of a learning curve”.
A surprise result was that even three months after the experiment, those who took part were still feeling the positive results even though many had stopped playing.
The social interaction is also believed to have helped.
This is similar to research on people who sing in choirs, who need to concentrate on their music and technique throughout the singing process thereby creating a stress-free zone when they don’t have time to think about work or personal problems.
Learning new songs, new harmonies, and new arrangements also helps as learning helps to keep brains active and fends off depression, especially in older people.