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IM Therapy can Improve Rhythmic Skills in Adolescents and Young adults.

Published In "Perceptual And Motor Skills"


Pediatric, Academic Performance

Interactive Metronome Training: Enhancing Rhythm Through Clapping
This 2021 study, published in the journal ‘Perceptual and Motor Skills’, investigates the two key types of rhythm intelligences and their roles in the normal acquisition of speech, language, and literacy skills among adolescents and young adults. The first rhythm intelligence, which relates to rapid, precise microsecond timing, is linked to language skills, while the second, which perceives millisecond timing of patterns, is tied to cognitive abilities crucial for language and literacy, such as working memory.

A group of 68 typically developing children, aged between 14.7 and 19.6 years, with no history of neurological conditions or language disorders, underwent a rhythmic battery composed of seven tasks. These tasks ranged from self-paced drumming and drumming to the beat of music, to reproducing rhythmic patterns and clapping in time with feedback via the Interactive Metronome (IM).

The researchers discovered that these rhythm skills were distinct abilities. An individual could be proficient at one but not the other, a pattern often observed in children with communication and language disorders. Importantly, the Interactive Metronome was found to effectively evaluate and train both of these vital rhythm intelligences, making it a powerful tool for diagnosing and treating language and literacy disorders.

This is due to the Interactive Metronome’s interactive nature which engages high-level cognitive processing and motor planning/sequencing. It allows individuals to continuously process auditory input and self-correct their motor timing based on the millisecond feedback, bringing their rhythm progressively in line with the metronome beat. As a result, Interactive Metronome therapy effectively engages both pulse and pattern rhythm skills, proving to be a highly effective intervention for speech, language, and reading disorders.

Abridged Summary & Results of Study

Clapping in Time with Feedback Relates Pervasively with Other Rhythmic Skills of Adolescents and Young Adults by Silvia Bonacina, Jennifer Krizman, Travis White-Schwoch, Trent Nicol, and Nina Kraus



Scientific investigations have revealed that individuals possess 2 key rhythm intelligences. One stems from microsecond timing, is very precise and rapid that detects undulating pulses. The other rhythm intelligence perceives the millisecond timing of patterns. The first (tapping to a beat) involves fast brain rhythms and is associated with language skills, while the second (tapping to a pattern) engages slow brain rhythms and is associated with cognitive abilities that are integral to language and literacy (i.e., working memory). Both beat and pattern rhythm skills are required for the normal acquisition of speech, language and literacy skills, but they have been found to be distinct abilities. A person can be good at one, but not the other (which is often found in children with communication and language disorders). Uniquely, Interactive Metronome (IM) objectively evaluates and trains both of these important rhythm intelligences making it a powerhouse when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of language and literacy disorders. IM is so effective because it is INTERACTIVE. It engages high level cognitive processing and motor planning/sequencing as the person continually processes the auditory input and self-corrects his motor timing based upon the millisecond feedback to be progressively more aligned with the actual metronome beat. This form of INTERACTIVE beat synchronization with feedback (IM) engages both pulse and pattern rhythm skills, making it an extraordinarily effective intervention for speech, language and reading disorders.


  •  n = 68 children age 14.7–19.6 years
  •  passed an age-appropriate hearing screening (pure tone thresholds<20 dB for octaves between 250 to 8000 Hz)
  •  typically developing with no history of a neurologic condition or diagnosis of a language disorder
  •  completed a rhythmic battery consisting of seven tasks:
  •  Self-Paced Drumming
  •  Metronome (no feedback)
  •  Tempo Adaptation
  •  Reproducing Rhythmic Patterns
  •  Remembering and Drumming to Rhythmic Patterns
  •  Drumming to the Beat of Music
  •  Clapping in Time with Feedback (Interactive Metronome)

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