The Therapeutic Power of Drumming with Greg Whitt: Bonus Episode

Dec 10, 2021

What are some of the surprising mental health benefits clients can receive from drumming? How does music interact with mood? What are some tips for therapists who want to start a drum circle?


At Drum for Change, Greg Whitt facilitates workshops and retreats designed to connect people to one another and to the world around them. Greg studied holistic lifestyle practices in graduate school at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. His studies focused on how ancient wisdom traditions can benefit modern society. His studies support his work in leading interactive and experiential education programs in corporations, congregations, communities, and classrooms. Cleverly disguised as music, his programs are actually hands-on philosophy, teaching how to live, work, and play well together in a community.

Visit the Drum for Change website. Connect with them on Facebook and Youtube.

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn or email him at:


  • Drumming benefits for mental health
  • Music and mood
  • Advice for therapists wanting to start a drumming group

Drumming benefits for mental health

Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist, came together with a music therapist to study the benefits of music and drumming on people’s physiological wellbeing.

Together, they did clinical studies on the benefits of music alongside treatment when working with patients who struggled with burnout and cancer.

In their research studies they discovered the science that proves group drumming in a particular way will boost the immune system and reduce the stress response … other agencies have done similar work and validated that all this is true. (Greg Whitt)

Music and mood

It is a well-known phenomenon that putting on your favorite song or the songs that you loved from your youth will get you in a better mood if you are feeling down. There is science behind this.

We know that we can flip that switch and use music to change our mood. What we may not know is that the same switch is also changing our biology … it is [interesting] to do this in ways that aren’t just sitting and listening but are actually creating opportunities for engagement. (Greg Whitt)

Drumming, dancing, and singing are all ways in which people can engage with the music instead of only sitting and listening to it.

Becoming involved in the music and with the community that is creating the music has been shown to dramatically improve overall mood, wellbeing, and help people to regulate their emotions.

Advice for therapists wanting to start a drumming group

  • To start the group, you need a certain number of enthusiasts from the start who want to join in to get it going.
  • Consider the cost of purchasing equipment because renting can be a potential hazard in case drums or instruments are damaged by people.
  • Have some training in leading a drum circle.
  • Remember that it is not about drumming.
  • Take part in drum circles in your area to get an idea of what they can be about.

The measure of success isn’t musicality, and it’s not about the instruments that you use. It’s about the relationships that you’re creating during the occasion, and that’s what really makes all the difference. (Greg Whitt)

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Visit the Drum for Change website. Connect with them on Facebook and Youtube.

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn or email him at:

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