If you’re tired of “drummer jokes” suggesting a lower intelligence or brain function, you can now fire back with science. According to a new study published in Brain and Behavior this month, drummers’ brains have more connectivity and are organized more efficiently thanks to the consistent and continuing pounding of our beautiful cylinders.
“The results of a new study suggest that (drummers) have fewer, but thicker fibers in the main connecting tract between the two halves of the brain,” says the study. “In addition, their motor brain areas are organized more efficiently.”
Sarah Friedrich, who wrote her bachelor’s thesis on this project, remarked that while it had been scientifically established that “playing a musical instrument can change the brain via neuroplastic processes,” nobody had studied drummers specifically.
“Drummers can do things that are
impossible for untrained people.”
Perhaps the best quote from the article, titled “Boom Chack Boom—A multimethod investigation of motor inhibition in professional drummers,” celebrates the extraordinary talent drummers inherently develop. “Most people can only perform fine motor tasks with one hand and have problems playing different rhythms with both hands at the same time,” says Lara Schlaffke, lead author of the study. “Drummers can do things that are impossible for untrained people.”
For this study, 20 drummers who had played for an average of 17 years were examined with MRI imaging to see the structure and function of their brains. Before you get all high and mighty, check yourself: these drummers currently practice for more than 10 hours per week. Time to hit the shed!