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Last Updated: Friday, 20 February, 2004, 15:12 GMT
Drumming up a happier workplace
Keith Moon had nothing on Animal
Drumming sessions at work could help employees defend themselves from stress and lower staff turnover, according to a new study from America.

When the participants - staff at a Pennsylvania nursing home - took part in six weekly drumming sessions, it improved their mood by almost 50%.

Dr Barry Bittman, the author of the report, said there was a decrease in feelings of fatigue and depression.

The positive effects of the drumming continued for a year, he added.

Dr Bittman said it resulted in 49 fewer employees resigning from the nursing home - the Westbury United Methodist Retirement Community - over the 12 months that followed.

Banging on

He is now calling for drumming sessions to be introduced across all industries.

In the drumming sessions at the nursing home the participants performed a series of exercises, including beating the drum in the rhythm of their own names, copying those of someone else, representing their feelings by drumbeats, playing along to music, and discussing ongoing stresses with the group.

Immediately after the sessions were completed, the staff were said to show a 46% improvement in mood.

And six weeks after the sessions ended the same people showed a more than 62% improvement in mood, the report added, suggesting that the emotional boost can continue long after the music has ended.


Margaret Bailey, a colleague of Dr Bittman at the Mind-Body Wellness Centre, said the drumming "creates a connectiveness and energy within the group".

But while drumming may work wonders in the workplace, in the world of rock'n'roll it is more often than not the drummer who reaps any misfortune.

This is a fact not lost on spoof rock band movie Spinal Tap, in which the group's drummers keep inadvertently and inexplicably blowing up.

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