THEY say music heals the soul… but now scientists have found that playing the drums can help beat depression.
Weekly sessions on a drumkit reduced feelings of depression by 38 per cent, researchers found.
As well as beating the blues, symptoms of anxiety fell 20 per cent while general mental wellbeing improved by 16 per cent.
The Royal College of Music study saw 76 mental health service users take part in weekly drumming sessions for 10 weeks.
Aaron Williamon, professor of performance science at the college, said the results chimed with other research into musicmaking and mental health.
“We went with drums partly because they are quite easy for most to play without too much of a learning curve,” he explained.
The research is the first to bring together psychological and biological results to investigate how making music helps people with mental health problems.
The findings echo existing research on the effects of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy on depression.
Former Genesis star Phil Collins has battled alcoholism and depression which saw him struggle to get up in the morning.
The drummer and singer, 65, said he even considered suicide at one point but thought again because of his children.
Many mental health conditions, including depression, are thought to be linked to inflammation in the body’s immune system.
Tests on saliva showed that weekly drumming sessions reduced those levels of inflammation.
Mr Williamon also said the “social interaction” of making music in groups of up to 20 people was another factor in reducing symptoms of depression.
In interviews the participants revealed that drumming provided a “form of expression and communication” and that the shared experience “boosted feelings of belonging and acceptance”.
There were also benefits to be had in making new social contacts and learning new skills in an “inclusive and relaxed musical activity”.
This article first appeared on ‘Sunday Express’ on 18 March 2016.