Drummers Are Smart


Drummers have often been the butt of the joke, How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.

How can you tell a drummer’s at the door? The knocking speeds up. What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band? “Hey guys, why don’t we try one of my songs?”

But all those stereotypes might be thrown out the window, courtesy of new research that suggests that drummers might actually be natural intellectuals.

For the study, a team of researchers from Umea University and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, asked a group of 34 right-handed men between 19 and 49-years-old tap a drumstick at different intervals.

None of the participants had any formal musical training, they were first played a beat and then asked to play along. After a minute, the recorded beat stopped playing and the participants were asked to keep tapping. They measured how closely their drumming matched the original beat.

The tapping test was then followed by an intelligence test.

Subjects who had the smallest variations in their drumming speed during the experiment also ended up with best scores on the tests. The researchers found a relationship between high intelligence, the ability to hold a rhythm, and the volume of white matter found in the frontal lobes of the subjects’ brains.

Head of the study was, Prof Frederic Ullen, he commented on the experiment: “Taken together, it means that one of the factors behind what we call intelligence has a biological basis in the number of nerve connections in the brain’s frontal lobe and the stability in the brain’s nerve activity which results,” Ullen said.

A Study also took place at Oxford University. The Oxford researchers discovered that drummers produce a natural ‘high’ while jamming, increasing both happiness and pain threshold.

So hopefully this stereotype will be eradicated for future drummers, in the meantime here’s a classic scene from Spinal Tap’s drummer. Watch it below.