Drumming within the Framework of Occupational Therapy For Children, Youth, and Adults

Compiled and Adapted by Jorge Ochoa, OTR

 Occupational Therapy supports “health and participation in life through engagement in occupation.”

 Drumming may be used to teach concepts applicable to living a FUNctional life!

Applied to the following areas of Occupation (everyday activity):

- Social Participation: Prosocial behaviors (turn-taking, sharing, respect of others).

- Play: Coping strategy, social skills, creativity (self-expression).

- Rest and Sleep: Relaxation, promotion of general mental and physical health and happiness.

- Work: Leadership, initiation, sense of mastery, accomplishment, flexibility/adaptive performance, persistence, dependability.

- Education: Academic skills/performance, rule compliance, group engagement, group skills necessary for learning.

- Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Health management and maintenance, religious observance.

 Involved in following Outcomes:

- Occupational Performance (the act of doing and accomplishing a selected activity or occupation).

- Health and Wellness (physical, mental, social well-being).

- Participation (engagement in desired occupations).

- Quality of Life (satisfaction, self-concept, health, functioning).

-Role competence (effectively meet the demand of roles).

- Adaptation (change in response approach to an occupational challenge).

- Prevention (creating conditions necessary for health at individual and social levels).


Used in types of Occupational Therapy Interventions (therapeutic use of drums): 

- Occupation-based intervention (used as engagement in the occupation itself)

Example: Drum for engagement in play and group drumming for engagement in social participation. 

- Purposeful activity (used to develop skills that enhance occupational participation)

Example: Drum as a method of teaching/developing mathematical concepts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to enhance educational success. 

-Preparatory methods (used to prepare individual for occupational participation)

Example: Drum to promote relaxation/rest/sleep (which also impacts other areas of occupation).

Performance Skills (abilities demonstrated):

- Motor & Praxis: Posture, mobility, coordination, strength/effort, energy, skilled purposeful movements.

- Sensory-Perceptual : Visual (vision), auditory (hearing), proprioception (position of body in space), vestibular (balance), tactile (touch)

- Communication & Social: Verbal, non-verbal (body language, looking, gesturing), taking-turns, acknowledging others, community/teambuilding/group cohesiveness (sense of belonging, commitment to roles).

- Cognitive: Sequencing/creativity, focus/attention, memory, judging of self (self-esteem), grasp of concepts.

- Emotional Regulation: Expression of feelings, impulse/self-control, relieving stress (utilizing relaxation strategy)

 The information in this overview is not intended to be all-inclusive

 Sources of Information: Rev 2/18/2013

The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain & Process (2nd Edition) (AOTA, 2008)

Occupational Therapy’s Role in Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, & Intervention With Children & Youth: Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth. Retrieved February 18, 2013

Masala, Kenya S. (2004) Rhythm Play. Austin, TX: Juju Studios & FUNdoing.