National Drummer Day (or National Drumming Day), celebrated on November 15th, is a day to honor and appreciate drummers and to learn about the many benefits of drumming, both physical and mental.

Did you know that drumbeats are one of the oldest forms of communication? For centuries, drums have been used to celebrate, communicate, and heal. Today, drummers play a vital role in music, keeping the beat and driving the rhythm.

Drumming is a great way to get exercise, improve coordination, and reduce stress. It’s also been shown to boost cognitive function, increase IQ, and improve mood. Scientists have long known that drummers are special people. But recent studies show that their brains are physically wired differently than the rest of us!1 This means they have elevated problem-solving skills and a novel perspective of the world around them. Whether you’re a professional drummer or just starting out, there’s no better day to celebrate than National Drummer Day!

History of National Drummer Day

Drums have been around for thousands of years, and their history is intertwined with the history of human culture. Drumming has been used for communication, celebration, and healing in societies all over the world.

The first drums were likely made from animal skins stretched over hollow logs or gourds. Over time, drums became more sophisticated, and different types of drums were developed for different purposes. For example, war drums were used to signal the enemy and to motivate troops in battle, while ceremonial drums were used in religious rituals and celebrations.

In the 19th century, the drum kit was invented, which made it possible for one drummer to play a variety of drums at the same time. This revolutionized the way that music was made, and drummers began to play a more prominent role in popular music.

National Drummer Day was created in 2015 by the proprietors of Drumming.com. They wanted to establish a day to recognize and celebrate drummers, who often play in the background and don’t get the same amount of attention as other musicians.

National Drummer Day Timeline

5500 BC

Drums are made from skins in China

The ancient Chinese actually believed that the instruments had mythical, spiritual powers, and so they frequently used drums in various spiritual rituals.2

5500 BC
1300 AD

First snare drums are used

The first drum related to the snare drum was created in Medieval Europe around 1300. This was called the Tabor. The Tabor was a double-headed drum that only had one snare drum strand across the bottom of the instrument.3

1300 AD
1918

First drum kit debuts

Ludwig Drum Company releases the first all-in-one drum kit.

1918
1941

Song “The Little Drummer Boy” is written

‘The Little Drummer Boy’ was written by American composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. It was first published with the title ‘Carol of the Drum’, and described as a ‘Czech carol freely transcribed by C.R.W. Robertson’.4

1941
1964

Ringo Starr first plays on The Ed Sullivan Show

The Beatles perform on the popular American TV show, with Ringo Starr on drums.

1964
2015

National Drummer Day is created

Drumming.com establishes a day to recognize and celebrate drummers.5

2015

The Evolution of Drumming

The handpan is a new type of drum that has only been around since the early 2000s. Created by Swiss artists Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer, the handpan is a percussion instrument that is played with the hands. It consists of two steel hemispheres that are connected at the center, with each hemisphere having a series of tones etched into its surface. The player strikes the hemisphere with their palm to produce a sound, and can also create rhythms by playing multiple tones at the same time. Handpans are often used for meditative or relaxation purposes due to their soothing sound, but can also be used for more upbeat music. Thanks to their unique design and sound, handpans are quickly gaining popularity all over the world.

Drumming in the Animal Kingdom

Drums are not just for humans – many animals use them for communication as well. For example, male birds will often drum their wings against their bodies to attract mates or intimidate rivals.

Drumming can communicate many things to others of the same species about who owns what territory, how strong they are compared to rivals, when they’re ready to mate, or if there are predators nearby.

Many species has its own specific patterns of footdrumming, which range from single thumps to unique signatures.

Read more about it – Evolution and Function of Drumming as Communication in Mammals

Scientists have found that animals react to syncopated sound in a similar way to humans, leading many of them to believe that drumming actually predates humanity as a form of communication. So, by practicing drumming, you’re possibly partaking in an activity older than human civilization itself.

Ruffed Grouse Drumming

Benefits of Drumming


Playing drums has been used as a form of therapy for centuries and is now a recognized form of mental health treatment.6 It is also a great way to improve physical fitness, coordination, and rhythm. People of all ages and skill levels can enjoy playing drums, making it a truly inclusive activity.

Drumming is a fun and engaging activity that has a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental. Here are just a few of the ways that playing drums can improve your health and well-being:

  • Physical benefits:
    • Improved coordination and motor skills
    • Increased muscle strength and endurance
    • Reduced stress and anxiety
    • Improved cardiovascular health
    • Enhanced pain tolerance
  • Mental benefits:
    • Boosted cognitive function
    • Increased IQ
    • Improved mood and emotional regulation
    • Enhanced creativity and self-expression
    • Reduced risk of depression and other mental health disorders

In addition to these individual benefits, drumming can also be a great way to build community and connect with others. Drumming circles and classes are a popular way to meet new people and make friends. It can also be used as a form of therapy to help people process trauma and heal from emotional wounds. Drumming is a fun and engaging way to learn about different musical genres and traditions.

Why is National Drummer Day important?

National Drummer Day is important because it celebrates the talented drummers who make our music sound so good. It is also a day to recognize the many benefits of drumming, both physical and mental.

Drummers play a vital role in music, and they often go unnoticed. National Drummer Day gives us a chance to show our appreciation for these musicians and to learn more about the importance of drumming in our culture.

Here are some specific reasons why National Drummer Day is important:

  • To honor and celebrate drummers
  • To learn about the benefits of drumming
  • To promote drumming as a form of therapy
  • To celebrate the diversity of drumming cultures 
  • To promote drumming as a fun and inclusive activity
  • To celebrate the role of drumming in education and community development
  • To support the drumming industry

The most known drummers in the world

They have all achieved great success with their respective bands, and have become household names in the process. Each of them has a unique style that has helped to shape the sound of their respective bands, and they have all been incredibly influential in the world of rock music.

How to Celebrate National Drummer Day

Now that you know all about the history and science of drumming, it’s time to get out there and start celebrating! Here are some fun ideas:

  • Host a Drum Circle at Home or in Your Community: Gather a group of friends, family, or neighbors for an immersive drum circle. Choose a comfortable and spacious location, whether it’s in your living room, backyard, or a local park. Encourage everyone to bring their own percussion instruments, such as bongos, djembes, or cajóns. If you don’t have enough instruments, get creative with household items like pots, buckets, or boxes. Set up the space in a circle to foster a sense of unity and begin with simple rhythms, gradually building up to more complex beats as everyone finds their groove.
  • Organize a Drumming Jam Session: Turn your home or garage into a jamming studio for an evening of rhythm and beats. Invite musicians and friends who are passionate about drumming or simply enjoy music. Arrange for a variety of drums and percussion instruments to cater to different preferences. You can even set a theme for the night, like Afro-Cuban rhythms or rock beats, to guide the session. Don’t forget to record the jam session so you can enjoy it later and see how you’ve all synced rhythmically!
  • Watch a Documentary or Movie about Drumming: Spend the evening diving into the world of drumming by watching documentaries or movies that explore the art form. Whether it’s a film about a famous drummer, a historical piece on the evolution of drumming in various cultures, or a documentary on the impact of drumming on mental health, this activity can be both entertaining and educational. Enhance the experience with a good sound system to really feel the power of the drumbeats.
  • Read a Book or Article about Drumming: Educate yourself on the intricate world of drumming by reading. Look for books that delve into the history of drumming, instructional guides, or biographies of renowned drummers. Articles and academic papers can also give you insight into the techniques, cultural significance, and the physiological impacts of drumming. Settle in your favorite reading nook with a cup of tea and absorb the rhythm off the page.
  • Donate to a Drumming Charity or Organization: Support the arts and music education by donating to charities that focus on drumming. Your contribution could help provide instruments to underfunded schools, support community drumming workshops, or sponsor events that promote drumming for health and wellness. Research organizations that align with your values, and consider setting up a recurring donation to make a lasting impact.
  • Take a drumming class: If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the drums, there’s no better day than today! Many music stores offer beginner classes, or you can search for private instructors in your area.
  • Listen to some great drumming music. Take some time on National Drummer Day to listen to your favorite drummers and appreciate their talent. You can put on a record, stream some music online, or go to a live concert.
  • Attend a concert: Check your local listings and see if any drummers are performing in your area today. Or better yet, go see your favorite band live! There’s nothing like experiencing live music firsthand.
  • Make your own drums: This is a great activity for kids (or adults!) who want to get creative. All you need are some basic supplies like empty food containers, rubber bands, and fabric scraps. Just be sure to make enough noise for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy!

Fun facts about National Drummer Day

  • Nearly everyone can relate to drumming. It’s seems almost a primal instinct to beat out rhythms as we feel them internally.
  • Playing drums can increase brain power. Research has shown that the physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the left and right hemispheres, enhancing concentration and emotional development.7
  • Drumming is a surprisingly physical activity. An hour of energetic drumming can burn 200-500 calories, similar to a good workout at the gym.8
  • Engaging in drumming sessions can be a powerful stress reliever. The act of drumming can serve as a form of meditation and has been used in music therapy to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and depression.9
  • Drumming can lead to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, which can alleviate pain and promote an overall sense of well-being.10
  • Before the modern era, drums were used as a means of communication over long distances, especially in Africa. The talking drum can mimic the inflections and tone of human speech.
  • Drumming can be both an improvised and structured activity. Drummers often improvise during solos, which requires a deep understanding of rhythm and creativity.
  • Some studies suggest that children who learn to play the drums have a higher IQ than those who do not, likely due to the complex cognitive processes involved in drumming.11
  • Our connection to rhythm is inherent; even our bodily functions like heartbeat and breathing are rhythmic. This natural predisposition to rhythm is why even babies respond to the beat of music.
  • The world’s largest drum is a traditional Korean drum called the CheonGo. It has a diameter of 5.54 meters and is used during special performances and ceremonies.12
  • Created in the year 2000 in Switzerland, the Hang is one of the youngest instruments in the percussion family. It looks like a UFO and is played with the hands. Its melodic sound is often associated with tranquility and meditation.
  • In various cultures, drumming is a central part of healing ceremonies. Shamanic drumming, in particular, is used to promote physical and emotional healing, as it is believed to bring about a state of euphoria and promote recovery.
  • Polyrhythms, where two or more conflicting rhythms are played simultaneously, are a staple in African drumming and can be incredibly complex. Mastering polyrhythms is a mental exercise that can significantly enhance one’s rhythmic precision and timing.
  • To avoid disturbing neighbors or to practice quietly, drummers often use practice pads or electronic drums, which can simulate the feel of a drum while significantly reducing the volume.
  • In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is often depicted with a small drum called a damaru, which is believed to make the sound from which the universe is said to have been generated.

Wrap-Up – da-dum-da-dum!

We hope you enjoyed learning about drumming on this National Drummer Day! Remember, there are lots of ways to celebrate – from attending a concert or taking a class, to making your own drums and banging out a tune. However you choose to celebrate, just be sure to have fun and enjoy the holiday!

FAQ

When is National Drummer Day?

National Drummer Day is celebrated on November 15th. This day is set aside annually to acknowledge and show appreciation for drummers and their enduring impact on music.

Why is National Drummer Day celebrated?

National Drummer Day celebrates the art and craft of drumming and recognizes the contributions of drummers to the music industry and culture. It’s a day to appreciate the skill, timing, and rhythm that drummers bring to music, enhancing the listening experience and often providing the backbone to a musical piece.

How can I celebrate National Drummer Day?

National Drummer Day can be celebrated in various ways. Attend a live concert featuring a renowned drummer, participate in a drum circle, or organize a jam session. You can also take a drumming lesson, watch documentaries about drumming, or simply spend the day listening to music that showcases excellent drumming. For those who want to share the love, consider donating to a music charity or advocating for music education.

What are the benefits of drumming?

Drumming has several benefits, both physical and mental. It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout, can improve coordination and timing, and helps to develop concentration. On a mental health level, drumming can reduce stress, increase feelings of happiness through the release of endorphins, and provide an outlet for self-expression. It’s also a social activity that can enhance communication skills and encourage teamwork when played in a group setting.

Who are some famous drummers?

The world of drumming boasts many legendary figures known for their skill and musical contributions. Some iconic drummers include John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, known for his powerful style and speed; Neil Peart of Rush, celebrated for his technical proficiency and elaborate drum kits; Buddy Rich, one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time; Keith Moon of The Who, famous for his explosive energy; and Ringo Starr of The Beatles, known for his solid and musical drumming. Contemporary greats include Dave Grohl, formerly of Nirvana and now with the Foo Fighters, and Travis Barker of Blink-182, known for his punk rock style and fast-paced rhythms.

Reviewed by HolidayToday Staff

Alex’s Take on National Drummer Day

National Drummer Day strikes a particular chord with me as it’s another occasion where I can proudly say I have a connection to it. I have a deep fondness for percussion instruments, though among all the drums, I find myself mostly playing the least percussive of the bunch: the Hang and the steel tongue drum. I wouldn’t claim to play them exceptionally well, but the act of playing is incredibly satisfying and relaxing. It’s one of those activities that I can personally attest has a positive effect on mental health. And of course, I won’t argue with the fact that drummers usually have a higher IQ))

So, this National Drummer Day, I encourage everyone to find a drum that resonates with them. It’s a pursuit that’s both child’s play and a serious craft, much more accessible and rewarding than some might think.

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191209110513.htm []
  2. https://www.hunter.cuny.edu/physics/faculty/lawergren/repository/files/articles/neolithic-drums-in-china-lawergren.pdf []
  3. http://everythingpercussion.weebly.com/history-of-the-snare-drum.html []
  4. https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/occasions/christmas/little-drummer-boy-carol-wartime-history/ []
  5. https://www.drumming.com/national-drummer-day.htm []
  6. https://www.jimdonovantrainings.com/blog/how-learning-to-drum-can-improve-your-health-and-wellbeing []
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832346/ []
  8. https://drummagazine.com/how-many-calories-does-drumming-burn/ []
  9. https://breicarter.com/musicismedicine/ []
  10. https://www.curves.com/blog/live/a-lesson-in-endorphins-what-are-endorphins-and-what-do-they-do []
  11. https://doi.org/10.2478%2Fv10053-008-0082-4 []
  12. https://custom-powder.com/seven-of-the-largest-loudest-and-longest-drum-related-world-records/ []

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