What Is Drum Therapy?

What is Drum Therapy and Art Therapy?

You may have heard the term, “whole health”, used in the recent past. The idea behind whole health is an affirmation regarding the relationships between the patient, his healthcare provider, the community around the patient, and the range of treatment options that are available to the patient including self-care.

The pandemic of 2020 accelerated the importance of integrating a whole health approach to the entire healthcare system across the United States. Patients who would have regular visits with their healthcare providers suddenly found themselves without access to those visits or severely limited to the care they were used to.

Rewind to 2015. Former Navy Corpsman, Trevor Meyer, is struggling with his own mental health challenges. He was receiving in-patient treatment at the Cleveland VA when he realized there some small gaps but significant gaps in his treatment. In particular during the evening when treatment was over and an entire ward of patients would huddle around a single TV.  Nighttime can be a trigger for depression, PTSD, and anxiety and he wanted to find a way to help himself navigate through his own thoughts. He had brought a practice pad for drumming with him and found it was the perfect companion for those quiet times. It helped him stay focused on his treatment and, before long, he found many of the other patients were drawn to his drumming and were becoming more interested in what he was doing than what was on TV. At that moment he had an epiphany about drumming and its whole health potential. 

Immediately upon finishing his in-patient treatment Trevor went on a discovery process on how to bring the therapeutic potential of drumming to others who might benefit from it as well.

drumming as a scientifically proven method of therapy

Drumming has been studied by several large universities and institutes specifically to analyze its potential as a source of meaningful and productive therapy. The studies found, one after another, that drumming offers strong evidence of healing in nearly every application. 

Drumming for Mental Trauma

Drumming encourages and facilitates the release of inner trauma. It does so through both the physical aspect of drumming and the mental counterpart of entrainment. Entrainment is defined as the practice of becoming more “in tune” with one’s self and the world around them through rhythmic activities. It’s been shown that entrainment helps people suffering from mental challenges open up to the world around them, release traumatic experiences through expression, and when done as a complement to traditional therapy, allows the patient to open up to their therapist or healthcare provider. 

Drumming for Physical Trauma

The physical benefits associated with drumming are probably a little more self-evident. Drumming uses all parts of the human body and can be employed in either low or high-impact settings. From post-op physical therapy, weight loss, to just getting in shape, there are endless benefits drumming provides for those who need a little movement in their life.

Why Drumming?

Aside from communicating through grunts, music is most likely humanity’s earliest form of artistic expression, and the first music anyone ever made was banging a stick against a rock; We’ve all evolved from drummers. 

You use it to express your feelings without words. We snap our fingers, drum our fingers on our desks, and tap our feet. Drumming comes naturally to everyone and is easy to pick up. Some instruments, such as the piano and guitar, can incur a large amount of frustration to learn the basics. Not so with drumming. You can pick up a drum and play it within seconds.

The notion that some people don’t have rhythm is non-sense. Everyone can play the drums. The heart is nature’s metronome – if you have one of those (which you probably do) you can drum!

Do Your Own Research

We’ve written this article to expose more people to the benefits of drumming, but we don’t want to be salespeople. We’d rather you do your own research and learn for yourself. Feel free to google “the Science Behind Drumming” for yourself.

If you are an administrator and would like to talk to Warrior Beat about a program please use our contact form to get a hold of us. If you would like to donate to the Warrior Beat cause, please visit our donations page.

Introduction to Hand Drumming – 26 Video Learning Series!

Our new Warrior Beat Subscription Video is LIVE!

Introduction to Hand Drumming is a comprehensive video series for beginners and intermediate hand drum percussionists.

The 26 video course covers a variety of topics:

  • Introduction to Hand Drumming
  • Introduction to Rhythmic Structures
  • Introduction to Beginner and Intermediate Tones and Techniques
  • Djembe
  • Cajon
  • Congas
  • A variety of grooves on each drum covering a wide range of musical styles

Introduction to Hand Drumming is taught by Sergeant First Class Retired, Mike Reyes. Mike is a life long musician with a degree in percussion from the University of Akron.

You can subscribe to this course today as either Monthly or Yearly!

Warrior and Chillicothe VA Join Forces for the ‘Veterans Drum From Home’ Program

Bringing Drum-Based Art Therapy  to Veterans Virtually

Art Therapy has recently seen a surge of interest throughout the health-care community. At it’s core we’re reminded of what we already knew: Expressing yourself through art makes you feel better and helps you release emotions that you might struggle with otherwise. 

Warrior Beat and the Chillicothe Veterans Affair Medical Center (VMCA) have teamed up to create an art therapy program that centers around facilitated group drumming. Included as part of the Whole Health initiative, group drumming allows veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental and physical disabilities, to find a release for their emotion and physical challenges. 

Therapeutic drumming is bolstered by a multitude of scientific studies that focus on things such as reintegration, entrainment, alleviation from symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other physical therapy benefits as well.

The Veterans Drum From Home program is an online, live streamed, program that allows veterans to participate from the comfort of their homes. This approach is beneficial twofold: It’s been effective during the ongoing pandemic as well as allowing veterans who are unable to leave the confines of their home for any other reason a chance to participate. 

If you are a health-care provider interested in this program please contact us at info@warriorbeat.org for more information.

Warrior Beat featured on ABC 5 News

CANTON, Ohio — Inside Warrior Beat’s Wellness Center in North Canton, there’s veterans of all different backgrounds.

“We have Vietnam veterans, Afghanistan, Iraq,” said Trevor Meyer, the co-founder of Warrior Beat.

But despite their differences, it’s clear, they have all faced similar struggles when they left the military and entered back into fast-paced life after service.

Ashley Priest spent time in the Ohio Army National Guard.

“I didn’t really realize it at first. I just was kind of going through the motions, but it took some time for me to really realize the effects of being in the military,” she said. “I was just kind of thrown back into real life again. I had to go back to work and go back to school and take care of my kids.”

For Terry Blackburn, a Vietnam vet who was wounded in combat, it was a similar issue.

“Once your back, you’re just thrown into everything again,” he said. “When I got out of Vietnam, it was not a very popular war, not a lot of things going on for veterans at that time.”

It’s common for vets to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse issues, feelings of loneliness and isolation. For Meyer, who spent time as a U.S. Navy corpsman, he used drumming to cope with those issues and the idea of “Warrior Beat” was born.

“Seeing the way drumming can transform somebody’s life, their well-being. It’s huge for me,” he said.

Warrior Beat is a nonprofit dedicated to group drumming and meditation for veterans. Studies show that drumming can increase happiness, pain tolerance and relationship skills. It can also decrease the effects of PTSD.

Priest credits it for helping her cope.

“It’s been an important part of my life for the past year. I pretty much come every week to the drum circles,” she said.

Blackburn, who has been a drummer his whole life, knows all too well how much drumming can help anyone who is struggling.

“There’s a lot of therapy that comes with that being able to express yourself,” he said.

Meyer said the meditation that he leads the group in after every session, is a big part of the healing process.

“Being able to come together and sit in silence and focus on our breathing is huge if you’re struggling with PTSD, substance abuse issues… calming yourself and finding that tranquil space can be very difficult,” said Meyer.

The group meets every Thursday in Canton but is expanding to the Cleveland VA Center in February.

It also offers live streams of the sessions online for vets who are homebound or don’t feel comfortable coming out to the workshop. Those vets get a drum delivered to their homes.

If you’d like to donate to the group head to Warriorbeat.org

Warrior Beat and Elec Simon put on a Show for First Friday in Canton, Ohio.

Elec Simon, (STOMP, Cleveland Cavalier’s Q’Stix, Pieces of a Dream), and Warrior Beat, a non-profit that provides professionally facilitated drum circles to military veterans struggling with PTSD, Anxiety, Stress and Depression, were live in downtown Canton, Ohio for First Friday. Elec Simon, a world renown percussionist, lead a clinic of rhythmic proportions in front of hundreds from within the Warrior Beat Rhythm and Wellness Center located at 318 Cherry Street.

Warrior Beat at PASIC: Updated

We’re at PASIC, and guess what? It’s amazing! We’ve only been here for a day and we’ve had a chance to meet so many people who have both shared their experiences and are interested in sharing ours. We look forward to working with many of the folks, for whom we’ve had the pleasure to chat with, far into the future and to build some amazing friendships.

If you are here at PASIC and would like to talk to us about how drumming and it’s positive effects on mental and physical health, come find us!

3:00pm – we just had the pleasure of meeting with Peter Erskine! Peter, as you may know, is an amazing drummer with an impressive history of playing in some of the world’s greatest bands, including Weather Report. We’re on cloud nine! Thank you, Peter!

North Neighbor News: Warrior Beat helps combat veterans find peace through drumming

NORTH CANTON Music has been proven to have calming and even healing effects on listeners and those who play. A newly formed non-profit organization called Warrior Beat has been putting that theory to work by helping veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) play hand drums as a therapeutic activity.

PTSD suffers can experience a variety of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, rage, substance abuse issues, feelings of worthiness or feelings of isolation. CEO and co-founder Trevor Meyer said the members of Warrior Beat get together and play drums to calm the effects of some of their symptoms. Meyer said there is research showing that playing drums can have immense therapeutic benefits.

His organization was showcased during a Drumming with Heroes event at the North Canton Public Library on Oct. 19.

Read the full article here: http://www.northneighbornews.com/news/20171025/warrior-beat-helps-combat-veterans-find-peace-through-drumming

Drumming with Heart – WWII Veteran Honored

Warrior Beat, a drum therapy program for military veterans, recently honored World War II pilot Robert Withee, of Jackson Township, with a special gift: A drum emblazoned with the image of the P-51 Mustang plane he flew in the Pacific Theater.

JACKSON TWP. Robert Withee eyed the drum from behind spectacles and from under the brim of a cap that designated him as a World War II veteran.

Clutching a single drumstick, the 96-year-old former war pilot softly pounded the head in a steady rhythm, giving voice to the instrument. Around him were other military veterans and residents of Heritage Villas, each group member slapping or hammering an assortment of drums under the impassioned direction of Trevor Meyer, co-founder and CEO of the Stark County-based Warrior Beat. A giant wave of percussion engulfed the room.

Read the full article here: http://www.cantonrep.com/news/20170905/drumming-with-heart-wwii-veteran-honored 

Warrior Beat Honored as S.C.O.R.E. regional Client/Small Business of the Year

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Warrior Beat Receives Small Business of the Year Award” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]December 6th, 2016

Less that a year ago the concept of Warrior Beat was a fledgling idea. What they didn’t realize then was that in several short months theywould be in a position where they could hold group drumming circles for 100 veterans at a time.

The cornerstone of this success had not only to do with the drive of their core Warrior Beat team, but also the wonderful men and women who work at S.C.O.R.E. who would spend many hours with Warrior Beat, honing the idea, and nurturing it to become what it is today.

S.C.O.R.E. (previously known as Service Corps of Retired Executives) is anational association that offers no-cost counseling and workshops for non-profit and for-profit business who are looking to succeed and grow.

Being awarded their Small Business of the Year Award was a, “Huge Honor.”, Benjamin Lehman, Co-founder and Creative Director of Warrior Beat, conveyed. “This award represents both the hard work we here at Warrior Beat, and our Mentors, John Dilworth and Mike Johnson, have put into making this vision of ours a reality. We’re beyond grateful for the recognition and the support they’ve given us.”

Warrior Beat is a non-profit that offers professionally facilitated group drumming for US Veterans who may be suffering from PTSD, anxiety, substance-abuse or other mental or physical ailments.

You can find out more about Warrior Beat by visiting their website at https://warriorbeat.org.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_masonry_media_grid element_width=”12″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1481146961385-0372e403-ba12-9″ include=”306,305,304,302,303,301″][vc_column_text]Photos by Benjamin Lehman & Joy Diaz[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]