Project: Drumbeat

Drumming Beats of Unity and Empowerment

The DRUMBEAT program utilizes research-based approaches to address health and social issues while exploring the therapeutic benefits of rhythmic interventions.

Project Details

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Firefly team was looking for programs that would engage with young people in a fun, therapeutic way. A program that would also address issues faced by young people that were exacerbated by the lockdowns. The team came across the DRUMBEAT program offered by Holyoake. This evidence-based program assisted youth through drumming to equip them with the social and emotional skills to navigate school and life.

In late 2021, Firefly Bay and Basin made a significant investment in the Bay and Basin community by training ten local individuals to become drumbeat facilitators. The participants consisted of community workers, musicians, and educators. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the drummers completed their facilitator training towards the end of 2021. Additionally, Firefly acquired twelve djembes (African drums) to enable the delivery of the drumbeat program to the local community.

In 2022, multiple Drumbeat programs were conducted to cater to various participants. These included programs for adults as part of the SSPAN project, parents and children associated with the Shoalhaven Defence Families Association, Vincentia High School students participating in the Curious and Creative program, and Falls Creek Primary School students. 

Through the DRUMBEAT program, we found that the young people and adults we worked with gained new coping strategies to self-regulate and manage their emotions and behaviours. They thrived in an environment where they could master and play rhythms on their own and collaborate with their peers to make great-sounding music. Over the weeks, facilitators noted that they could see the groups coming together, forming bonds and sharing in the delight of playing music.

Students were able to learn collaborative skills, which resulted in more positive and cohesive group dynamics. Young people mentioned that they felt a greater sense of belonging and connection to their community and were more motivated to continue with the group. Another great benefit observed by the facilitators was the development of some critical social skills, which assisted in the formation of supportive relationships with peers, facilitators and staff members.


The DRUMBEAT program is built upon documented research addressing key health and social outcomes issues. It also incorporates recent advancements in neurological research, highlighting the positive impact of rhythmic interventions on primal brain systems associated with anxiety and emotional control. The program delivers a range of therapeutic and social mediational learning outcomes by employing social learning theory and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Throughout the ten sessions, participants drummed to explore listening, relationships, respect, harmony, tolerance, emotions, feelings, and teamwork. The program culminates in a performance displaying the rhythms they have mastered.

For more information about the Drumbeat program, go to Holyoake’s website. If you would like Firefly to run a DRUMBEAT program at your school/centre, please contact us.

Related News