Drumming is good for your health says new BBC iWonder Guide

One theory as to why this might happen is that engaging with music influences bodily functions like breathing and blood flow. Better regulation of these systems in turn might lower the chances of harmful activity within the body’s sympathetic nervous system, sometimes known as our stress response or ‘fight or flight’.Dr Victoria Williamson
Date: 13.07.2016     Last updated: 13.07.2016 at 00.01
The BBC has produced an online guide detailing the health benefits of playing a musical instrument.

The BBC iWonder guide is presented by the BBC’s Angellica Bell (pictured) who re-learns her childhood instrument, the cello.

It features research from a Japanese university that found playing a musical instrument can have health benefits.

Research carried out on older adults taking drumming lessons found that they had higher than average white blood cell counts, which are vital for effective immune system responses.

The guide is part of the BBC’s Get Playing campaign, encouraging everyone to experience the joy of playing music.

The research about drumming was carried out by Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Dr Victoria Williamson was consulted for the iWonder guide and explains why the white blood cell result may have come about in the Japanese study.

Says Victoria: “One theory as to why this might happen is that engaging with music influences bodily functions like breathing and blood flow. Better regulation of these systems in turn might lower the chances of harmful activity within the body’s sympathetic nervous system, sometimes known as our stress response or ‘fight or flight’.”

The guide also reveals why playing an instrument has a positive impact on the brain and body, and examines how hand-eye coordination improves along with fine hearing skills which can help people track voices in noisy spaces.

Get Playing runs all summer, and encourages any amateur musician - from enthusiastic beginner to Grade 8 superstar - to join an online ‘virtual orchestra’ and be part of the Last Night of the Proms celebrations on Saturday 10 September.

For full details and easy instructions on how to join the BBC’s online virtual orchestra, visit the Get Playing website: bbc.co.uk/getplaying

The iWonder guide is available here bbc.co.uk/guides/z3y3hv4

Notes to Editors

Picture caption: Angellica Bell explores the health benefits of playing music.

SM