Are Drummers the Smartest in a Band?



When it comes to a music band, the singer gets the most attention. This is followed by the lead guitarist, the bass guitarist, and lastly, the drummer. The drummer is always the last member of the band to be remembered. Often they too are at the receiving end of their bandmates’ jokes. But they may have the last laugh after all as drummers are, according to scientific research, the smartest in the band.


Drummers have higher intelligence


Despite drummers bearing the brunt of jokes in the music world, scientific research has shown they might actually be smarter than their bandmates whose musicianship is a lot less rhythmically focused.


According to Frederic Ullen of Karolinska Instituet, good timing and clean beats required from drummers reflects their intelligence. Ullen concluded that there was a link between intelligence, good timing, and part of the brain used for problem-solving. He said, “The rhythmic accuracy in brain activity that is observed when a person maintains a steady beat is also important to the problem-solving capacities measured with the intelligence tests.”


Professor Ullen also discovered that participants with high levels of general intelligence were also more stable when it comes to performing a task requiring timing. Their brains typically held a larger volume of white matter which is responsible for connecting different regions of the brain.


Drummers are not only more intelligent but they too are natural problem solvers.


Steady rhythms improve cognitive function


In the research on the effects of rhythm on brains, researchers found that experiencing a steady rhythm actually helps to improve cognitive function. A study of sound therapy on psychology students at the University of Washington found that rhythmic light and sound therapy helped them improve their grades. A similar method was tested on a group of elementary and middle school boys with ADD. The therapies had a similar effect helping with lasting increases to the boys’ IQ scores.


Higher levels of happiness


In addition to being natural problem-solvers, drummers are also found to have a significant effect on those around them. They have the ability to transfer their natural intelligence.


Research has shown that when drummers play together, their level of happiness and tolerance increases. It is called the Drummer’s high - named because of an endorphin rush that is stimulated when drummers play (not just when listening to music).


The endorphin rush also helped increase a person’s threshold for tolerating pain and increasing positive emotions, leading people to work together more harmoniously. Researchers hypothesized that due to this effect, drumming may play a major role in community-building and that the evolution of human society may depend on shared rhythms.


Does this pique your interest in learning how to play drums? If you are interested in learning drums or percussion, get in touch with us at Ritmo Music Studio in Singapore.


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