Improving Mental Health In Schools With Drumming

Importance Of Physical Activity In Student Mental Health Recovery In Schools

Last year saw us all separated from our friends and family, from our routines and normal living habits. Whilst these changes have had a huge effect on all of us, none are more affected than our children.

Our students have been returning to class with feelings of helplessness, loneliness and fear of being socially excluded.

These are all feelings normally associated with any pandemic and they can lead to high levels of mental health distress in children, such as depression and heightened anxiety.

Marie Dahl, Head of Save the Children’s Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Unit, says: “While children are resilient, we cannot underestimate the impact the pandemic is having on their mental wellbeing and overall health. […].”

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill recognises that children in lockdown will be returning with more needs for physical activity and play, stating:

“The physical and mental benefits of regular exercise can never be underestimated, and I believe all children should have the chance to have fun playing sport and enjoy high quality PE lessons.

Lockdown has been a testing time for many of us, not least for children who have had their usual routines turned upside down.”

Improving student mental health with DrumFIT
Students learning drumming during a DrumFIT PE lesson

Children who are given more opportunities for play, physical activity and outside sports time are better able to cope with these feelings.

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, notes “During these challenging times, it has become clearer to me than ever the importance of keeping active and how it benefits not just our physical health but also our ability to pay attention, our mood and our mental health too.

Every family will have had a different experience of the pandemic, and I know that many children will have missed time spent outdoors with their friends – that’s why it’s so important that ahead of a full return to school in September, schools get the certainty they need to prepare their PE and sports activities for next year.”

A quality Physical Education programme is key for addressing these needs head-on and immediately providing a platform for healing to begin.

Improving student mental health with DrumFIT

Teaching SEL in the PE classroom with drumming

The PE classroom, unlike typical academic classrooms, has the unique advantage of creating the perfect environment for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to take place.

Interactive drumming and rhythm activities activate behaviours that are core to social, emotional development.

To hear the beat of a rhythm, it takes active listening and to keep the rhythm steady and stable, it requires a commitment to the group.

The basic lessons of listening and creating a beat together are the foundations for social, emotional learning.

Students activate their internal locus of control and engage fully; they practice pro-social behaviour in a way that is natural, playful and fun for everyone.

Improving student mental health with DrumFIT

Drumming is a non-verbal, universal activity that builds and creates a sense of community and does not bear the stigma of therapy.

Group drumming is growing in popularity as a treatment for mental health, perhaps due to its inclusiveness and strong, steadying rhythms.

There have been many studies done with children and adults that showed participants in group drumming led to significant improvements in multiple domains of social-emotional behaviour1 and enhanced psychological states, specifically less depression and greater social resilience2 .

Improving student mental health with DrumFIT

Drumming is a beautiful way to connect people and transcend differences, it promotes mental healing and is a great form of non-competitive physical activity, and this is why we created DrumFIT.

DrumFIT is an innovative, cardio-drumming programme that combines movement and music to benefit both the mind and body wellness.

DrumFIT is employed in thousands of schools throughout Canada and USA as a turn-key physical education solution that provides a guaranteed viable curriculum. 

DrumFIT comprises a growing library of over 650 video lessons, all of which encompass physical activity, development of key social and emotional skills, and feature mindfulness and meditative activities to help children manage their mental health.

DrumFIT is easy for teachers to teach because the PE curriculum videos are designed for the students to follow along while their classroom teacher continues to provide classroom management and pedagogical support.

Call for UK Pilot Schools 📢

The great news is that DrumFIT is expanding into the UK and we are looking for schools who are interested in becoming part of our pilot study.

Your school will be provided a cardio-drumming class set of 30, full training and on-boarding and access to our lesson planning software and library of over 650 curriculum videos.

In exchange you will provide us with feedback, surveys and reviews to help us adapt the programme for UK students. We are looking for schools of all sizes from all areas of the UK. Pilot schools must be willing and able to implement the programme during the months of November, December 2020 and January 2021.

If you or your school are interested in gaining more information on DrumFIT or are interested in applying for our pilot, please reach out to us directly at

1 The Impact of Group Drumming on Social-Emotional Behaviour in Low-Income Children
2 Effects of Group Drumming Interventions on Anxiety, Depression, Social Resilience and Inflammatory Immune Response among Mental Health Service Users

DrumFIT addresses students’ physical, emotional, and intellectual needs, making fitness easy to teach and a blast to learn.

Updated on: 12 May 2021

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