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Inspired by legendary Blondie drummer Clem Burke, the decade-long project examines the physical and cognitive effects of drumming
Ahead of the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week, Roland has announced its partnership with the Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBDP), aiming to expand the benefits of drumming to everyone through data-driven insights on its benefits to both physical and mental health.

In 2008, inspired by the drumming of legendary artist Clem Burke, scientists sought to uncover the physical demand of “live” drumming. Partnering with Burke, they conducted a series of experiments and studies, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, ultimately discovering both groundbreaking physical and cognitive results.

Physical Benefits of Drumming
Through testing inspired by work with the England and Great Britain Boxing Teams, the CBDP found that high-level drummers can exert the same level of energy during a concert as a professional soccer player in a 90-minute match.

In addition, it has proven that drumming can increase the adult heart rate from 60 bpm to 200 bpm, as well as increase breaths per minute from 15 to 50 and produce sweat loss rates of up to 1 liter per hour, all of which demonstrate legitimate physical exercise associated with the activity, and the benefits don’t stop there.

Cognitive Benefits of Drumming
On top of the physical exertion, the team uncovered impressive cognitive benefits from drumming. Through their data, CBDP discovered numerous changes in brain function while drumming that can aid with common cognitive development, in addition to that associated with brain injury and specific neurodiverse brain conditions. These include changes to the Mirror Neuron System (MNS), the part of our brain that generates empathy, which could largely benefit those living with conditions such as autism.

Through drumming’s unique ability to utilize all four limbs, which often work independently from one another, the brain is forced to adapt, leading to improved pathways between its regions. The CBDP’s data showed that this ultimately creates improvements in motor control, movement coordination, working memory, response times, action planning and attentional control among drummers.

Looking Ahead
While this data demonstrates drumming’s revolutionary effects on physical, mental and emotional development, the CBDP’s work is far from finished. The team, comprised of Professors Marcus Smith, Stephen Draper, Steve Williams, as well as Dr. Ruth Lowry and Clem Burke, in collaboration with Roland, is excited to continue research in order to expand the understanding of further effects and help to bring these health benefits to wider groups of people—even going as far as those living with movement disorders, or rehabilitating from strokes and brain injuries.

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