By Interactive Metronome - May 5, 2015

Let the Drummer Kick

You don’t have to be Ringo Starr to appreciate drumming. In fact, watching a child play the drums can actually help healthcare professional identify problems that could plague a child for the rest of their life. “I just don’t buy it,” you say. “I’ve had to make my son stay in the garage he bangs them so loud.” Well, learning the drums can be a long (and yes, loud) process, but it could also be developing the critical skill of Neurotiming®.

The domain-general mechanism of timing is a “jack of all trades” mechanism that manifests itself in sleep cycles, speech patterns, ability to attend over time and overall efficacy of brain communication. This timing in the brain, or Neurotiming®, has been shown to be deficient in several common conditions, including everything from mild learning disability to severe autism spectrum disorder.

In a new study that was conducted by a team of researchers at Northwestern University, a link has been found between rhythm & timing and childhood development, especially as it relates to reading and language skills. In a relatively simple experiment, researchers had a sample of children drum along with an adult. Of the 35 children (ages 3-4), 22 children could synchronize their drumming to the adult. Further testing showed that those 22 children were faster at naming objects and colors, had better auditory memory and were better at distinguishing rhythm and melody—all key factors in language development and reading. Sadly, trouble with language and reading can make it hard for children to be exposed to new thoughts and materials, which is often amplified by ADHD, learning disabilities and a host of comorbid conditions.

The Northwestern University study confirms the results of previous studies carried out by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation and Baylor University. Almost 15 years ago, a groundbreaking study by High/Scope found significant correlations between 585 student’s mental timing and their academic performance in reading, math, language, science, social studies and personal study skills.

In 2012, a study by Baylor University researchers took that correlation a step further. Their study showed that improvement in timing and rhythm (through 4 hours of IM training) resulted in larger gains in most areas of reading achievement over the control group. Simply combining 15 minutes of IM training with traditional speech and reading therapy resulted increased reading rate/fluency, comprehension, attention and language processing.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from all of these studies is that although Neurotiming® is an absolutely critical skill that directly affects the brain’s development and future operation, it can be strengthened through training. Just like any muscle, you can train the brain to be more efficient and effective. The efficient communication between the brain and body allows all of your body’s systems to work at peak levels. When everything is working at the optimum level, the brain’s cognitive processes are free to work on attention, memory, processing and coordinating action.

So, even if you are marching to the beat of your own drummer, the evidence suggests that you have to make sure he is in sync. How?

Let IM training help!

IM is the only training program that improves timing in the brain in an organized, systematic, flexible and engaging format. Research shows that combining whole body movements with cognitive tasks leads to overall better outcomes. Interactive Metronome® is a patented and unique training tool that challenges thinking and movement simultaneously, providing real-time millisecond feedback to help synchronize the body’s “internal clock.”


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