Rock drumming enhances motor and psychosocial skills of children with emotional and behavioral difficulties

Ruth G. Lowry, Beverley J. Hale, Stephen Draper, Marcus S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Drumming may have therapeutic and learning benefits but there exists little 4 causal evidence regarding the benefits for children with emotional and 5 behavioural difficulties (EBD) such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Six EBD 6 pupils (EBD Drum) and 6 peers (Peer Drum) were given 2, 30 minute rock 7 drumming lessons per week, over 5 weeks. Six matched individuals received no 8 drumming instruction (3=EBD Control; 3=Peer Control). An exploratory, 9 mixed-methods analysis was used to explore quantitative changes in skills and 10 qualitative perspectives of the teaching staff. All pupils were tested two times 11 (pretest and posttest) on drumming ability and Motor skills (Movement 12 Assessment Battery for Children, version 2). Teacher’s rating of social behaviour 13 (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire; SDQ) was tested two times (pretest and 14 retention).Significant differences in total SDQ difficulties between the four 15 groups (χ2(3) = 8.210, p = 0.042) and the hyperactivity subscale (χ2(3) = 10.641, 16 p = 0.014) were observed. The EBD Drum group had greater reductions in total 17 difficulties compared to the Peer Drum (p = 0.009) group and specifically greater 18 reductions in hyperactivity compared to Peer Drum (p = 0.046) and the EBD 19 Control (p = 0.006) group. In follow-up interviews, staff spoke positively about 20 changes in pupil’s attitudes towards learning and social confidence. The positive 21 changes to social and behavioural skills reported in this pilot study are similar to 22 those recorded for other music modalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019


  • Educational enrichment
  • Drumming
  • psychosocial
  • psychomoto coordination
  • hyperactivity
  • behavioural difficulties
  • emotional difficulties
  • neurological development


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