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5 Reasons Why Seniors Should Play Drums

Samantha Landa  /  Jan 13, 2023

We might slow down a bit as we age, but the idea of leaving everything fun in the past? It’s a silly, outdated concept, isn’t it.

You can absolutely “teach an old dog new tricks”. And learning new skills, such as picking up an instrument, comes with a ton of extra benefits.

Whether you’re bringing a drum circle into a retirement home or sitting down on a full kit for the first time, you’re never too old to learn the drums. You don’t even need to be able to hold a drumstick. If you can tap a surface with your finger or palm, you can play rhythms.

If you’re a senior, a caregiver, or have a friend/relative who would benefit from this info, spread the word!

Read: What Can Drumming Do For Your Health?

1. Drumming improves memory

Imagine if you could strengthen your brain’s abilities just by playing a drumming ‘video game’.

Well, this is exactly what happened in a new study, which found that musical rhythm training improved short-term memory (specifically facial recognition) in a group of people aged 60-79. You know how people talk about using word games to keep your mind sharp? Rhythm games came out on top.

Could this mean drumming could help those with Alzheimer’s reconnect with their loved ones?

Drumming has also been shown to make the brain of long-time players more efficient. Another study shows how drumming can also help people with Huntington’s Disease (progressive nerve cell degeneration).

Have fun, stay limber, and work your brain? Sign us up.

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Did you know that many Drumeo members are retirees? If you’re in your golden years and are looking for a new activity to keep your mind sharp and your body active, join our supportive and patient community at Drumeo, an online drum lesson platform that includes practice tools for learning your favorite songs and more.

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2. Drumming is a social activity

If we have one thing, it’s a strong sense of community. Drummers are incredibly supportive of each other – maybe even more than any other type of musician. It makes sense, considering drumming is one of the oldest known forms of music as well as a long-distance communication method, and rhythm is in all of us.

Drumming transcends languages and cultures. You don’t need to know music theory to play. You can also jam with others, whether that’s part of a drum circle or in a band.

Studies have found that group drumming can increase social resilience while reducing depression and anxiety. Seniors might feel isolated as they age, especially during and after the holidays. Joining a drum circle or participating in a drumming program could be a great way to connect with other people, even if no one says a word.

That brings us to the next major benefit…

3. Drumming helps with depression

Playing the drums is a natural antidepressant and painkiller. It may not be a silver bullet prescription for what ails you, but drumming has proven to have real physiological effects that we shouldn’t ignore.

It reduces stress and increases endorphins, which can improve your mood and increase pain tolerance.

Drumming can be used in music therapy programs and it’s even been shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD.

What do you have to lose?

Read: It’s A Fact: Playing The Drums Makes You Happy!

4. Drumming keeps you active

One of the most obvious benefits to drumming is that it gets your limbs moving, burns calories and increases your heart rate. Don’t let that scare you, though – you don’t need to play like Animal, John Bonham or Dave Grohl to see the health benefits.

Drumming improves your hand-eye coordination and motor skills (including in those with dementia or cognitive impairment), even if you don’t pursue it for years or get to an advanced level.

If you’re an older person wanting to start playing drum regularly, read this article first as it addresses ways to prevent injury.

prevent drum injury

5. Drumming is soothing

It might sound farfetched – especially when most people think drums are loud and jarring – but depending on how you play and what kind of drum(s) you choose, it can be calming.

A hand drum (like a djembe or cajon) is a quieter option than a full drum kit, but even slow, repetitive rhythms on a snare drum and toms can be a relaxing experience. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Read: Drumming: The Natural Painkiller

So what’s the consensus? Is drumming for you? You can sit down on a drum kit, join a group drumming session or tap out some rhythms on a table. Whatever you choose, be confident: you’re doing something amazing for yourself.


Samantha Landa is the editor of The Drumeo Beat. She currently drums with Conquer Divide and has been featured by outlets such as Sick Drummer Magazine and DRUM! Magazine. Sam proudly endorses Mapex Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads and Los Cabos Drumsticks.

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