The Amazing Neuroscience of Drummers

The Amazing Neuroscience of Drummers

Drummers may find themselves as the butt of the jokes in the music world, but science says that science shows drummers have an advantage over everyone else.

A promotional video from GE suggests that drummers have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us. What does the brain of a drummer look like? When a drummer gets into the beat, where is the rhythm flowing from? Is it in the wrists, the feet, the brain? Check out this short video from General Electric to learn more:

This video suggests that when playing the drums your arms and ears pose to the rhythm and these actions light up regions of neural connections. When you start moving to the beat your motor cortex begins to activate and results in stronger connection to the brain that eventually leads to increases in skills like good timing.

Essentially, this video suggests that drummers have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us.

A study from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving in drummers. The drummers who were able to keep a steady beat scored the highest in the intelligence tests conducted by this study. This research has suggested that drummers might actually be natural intellectuals. Proffessor Ullen, who conducted this study said:

“We found that people with high general intelligence were also more stable on a very simple timing task. We also found that these participants had larger volumes of the white matter in the brain, which contains connections between brain regions.”

The natural intelligence of drummers isn’t limited to just themselves. Research has shown that a tight beat can actually transfer that natural intelligence to others. This study suggests that experiencing a steady rhythm actually improves cognitive function of the listeners too.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman concluded that drummers have a unique mental makeup.

Basically, they have different brains from the rest of us, according to an experiment conducted at Brian Eno’s studio with various professional drummers.

University of Oxford psychologist Robin Dunbar found that the endorphin-filled act of drumming increases positive emotions and leads people to work together in a more cooperative fashion. Dunbar also found out that people have higher pain thresholds immediately after performing music or dancing.

Related: The Spectacular Science Behind Sonogenetics: Controlling the Brain Through Sound

Drumming has several therapeutic aspects, says Clash drummer Topper Headon in a BBC interview.

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