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It’s All in the Beat

Did you knodrummer 5w that drummers are different?

A high school friend who played drums alongside me many years ago sent me an article about research done on people who are called percussionists. I would never have called myself  such a fancy name, but a drummer I was. I played the snare drum, the bass drum, timpanis, triangles, and cymbals…depending on the tune and the mood of the band director.

I learned at an early age how to hold the drum sticks, how to do a mediocre long drum roll, how to twirl the cymbals, and how to be the ‘beat’ of a tune. I’m not saying I was good, but there was no question the drum section was where I belonged.

And come to find out, there is a reason I loved to drum…because drummers are special!

drummers are hot

“Drummers are Hot—It Doesn’t Matter What Species They Are”

“Drummers,” writes Jordan Taylor Sloan at Mic, “can actually be smarter than their less rhythmically-focused bandmates.”

Now that was a quote I couldn’t resist adding to this post. And it comes from the findings of a Swedish study (Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm) which shows “a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.” As Gary Cleland puts it in The Telegraph, drummers “might actually be natural intellectuals.”

That might be a stretch, but hey, I’ll take compliments wherever I can find them!

Apparently, drumming has therapeutic value, providing the emotional and physical benefits collectively known as “drummer’s high,” an endorphin rush that can only be stimulated by playing music, not simply listening to it. In addition to increasing people’s pain thresholds, Oxford psychologists found, the endorphin-filled act of drumming increases positive emotions and leads people to work together in a more cooperative fashion.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman, a renaissance researcher, found this out in an experiment he conducted with various professional drummers at Brian Eno’s studio. It was Eno who theorized that drummers have a unique mental makeup, and it turns out “Eno was right: drummers do have different brains from the rest.” Eagleman’s test showed “a huge statistical difference between the drummers’ timing and that of test subjects.” Says Eagleman, “Now we know that there is something anatomically different about them.” Their ability to keep time gives them an intuitive understanding of the rhythmic patterns they perceive all around them.

I have always thought that I selected the drums in the fourth grade because the clarinet seemed too complicated. But no, the clarinet just didn’t ring my musical bell because I was born to drum!

I present these findings as a not too subtle way of explaining to you folks who have ever questioned my intelligence level that I really am smart…I just walk to a different drummer!


7 thoughts on “It’s All in the Beat

  1. I agree with you — drumming takes a special breed and talent. But even so, I have to tell you this joke I heard:
    What do call a drummer who breaks up with his Girlfriend?


  2. HaVe you ever heard Linda Rondstat when she first started out in The Stone Ponies? She sings a tune that goes…”you and I travel to the beat of a different drum… ” It’s a fantastic tune. I’m dancing to it right now ….Gotta go! Clare


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