Children, Learning Styles and Drumming

Learning styles are a familiar concept to teachers, educators and parents as children continue to learn through a wide range of experiences that stimulate various parts of the brain. The thought behind learning styles is simple: some people learn better through a visual and social environment, while others may benefit from a solitary, tactile experience, and still others prefer a more pragmatic or logical learning environment. Children even learn different subjects better through the different learning styles, making the entire study of how we all learn a fascinating exploration of the brain.

The act of drumming with kids explores the ability to apply each of the seven learning styles to any subject being studied. Beyond the benefits of building communication skills, drumming with kids provides a full-range of experiences that can benefit comprehension and even summative (testing) goals, or even help access areas of the brain that could increase the effectiveness of a certain learning style. For example, the visual aspects of drumming can stimulate the occipital and parietal lobes, making “typical” classroom instruction better for those children who struggle with understanding and assimilating information available on a chalkboard.

Verbal learners, as well as aural learners, have the natural tendency to understand the rhythm of language and the music of drumming easier than others. When kids use drums in the classroom, even just through listening to drumming or music, these linguistic abilities are enhanced as the rhythm reaches the temporal lobes in the brain, providing a foundation for success in all academic areas through language development, comprehension and mastery.

Physical and tactile learners are able to stimulate the cerebellum and minor cortex of the brain, meaning, as we drum with kids, are helping them open up to receive academic knowledge and information. In addition, logical learners can understand the concept of time as it relates to a drum or rhythm, stimulating the parietal lobe, where it just “makes sense” to have a steady beat. Coincidentally, it is the parietal lobe that is the mainstay of visual learners.

The final learning styles are social and solitary learners, both of which are natural drummers, in terms of community and creative expression. Social learners and solitary learners both feel the rhythm of learning through drumming. These children, whether in an interactive drumming environment, or alone, are stimulating the frontal lobes and limbic system, which also has the benefit of reaching into the emotions and behaviors of the kids who drum. In the group environment, children are learning through both styles, as both community (social) drumming and individuality (solitary) can be a part of the experience.

Whether a child learns best through physical learning or alone with a book, the benefits of drumming with kids can apply to all learning styles. For teachers, educators and parents looking for a different way to enhance or build skills in a child, perhaps picking up a drum will be an ally in the education of our children.