Wahlbangers Drum Circle Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
(based in Los Angeles, CA.) dedicated to
“Banging down walls” of stress, isolation, and stigma
& building bridges to inclusion, acceptance, and contentment
with the therapeutic benefits of group drumming.
Rhythm is Contagious!
According to the Activities Director, this resident rarely smiles or laughs!
We focus on populations who are generally isolated. Many have busy working families who cannot visit regularly, or have no visitors at all. They lack stress release, social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation - all of which they experience through participation in our drum circles. Our drum circles have a profound impact on long-term care residents, their families, the staff, students, and the community.
We bought a movie camera to document at least a vignette of the magic we see occurring each week at our nursing home drum circles. The first time I set it up to record, I sat it on a shelf in the corner to be as unobtrusive as possible.
When we played back the resulting footage I was, at first, underwhelmed with the results. Mainly because we primarily recorded the most infirm of the group and I felt that we did not capture a true representation of the lively participation of that day.
Upon closer viewing, however, I realized I was mistaken. A resident who attends our drum circles regularly - even though she cannot even hold, let alone play, an instrument - can be seen happily tapping her little white-socked foot to the beat. I guess I should have taken her weekly faint declaration at face value, “I like your music”.
"Healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming..."
~ American Music Therapy Association
"Rhythmic drumming induces altered states, which have a wide range of therapeutic applications. A recent study... demonstrates that even a brief drumming session can double Alpha brain wave activity, dramatically reducing stress. The brain changes from Beta waves (focused concentration and activity) to Alpha waves (calm and relaxed), producing feelings of euphoria and well-being." (Drake)
"Systematic inquiry into the relationship between music and brain function is one of the most rapidly developing fields of human research. Music making offers extensive exercise for brain cells and their synapses (connections). It would be difficult to find another activity that engages so many of the brain's systems."
(Weinberger, N., 1998)
BENEFITS FOR LONG-TERM CARE WORKERS
One of our favorite nurses taking her break to shake and dance with Chris...
We are often joined by nursing staff, who also benefit from our drum circles. Studies conclude that Long-Term Care workers who participate in drum circles show a marked reduction in tension and anxiety, and show significantly improved mood states, which reduces burnout and, therefore, reduces employee turnover.
See: Studies & Research page
Economic-impact analysis projected cost savings of over $89,000 annually for a single typical 100-bed facility!
A similar study was conducted for Nursing Students, and the study concluded that music making "reduces burnout and improves mood states in First Year Associate Degree Nursing Students."