Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Drumming is a phenomenon that is found in many cultures throughout the world. Although each culture has a different use and intention in which drumming is incorporated, there are many common elements that overlap between the various groups. Because of the versatility of drumming, it is widely used as a therapeutic intervention in music therapy. Understanding the uses and intentions of drumming in other cultures can help music therapists to broaden their understanding of drumming. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the value of African drumming and to see how it relates to the use and intent of drumming in music therapy practice. While participating in the International Student Exchange Program through Utah State University, I attended the University of Ghana for the Fall 2012 semester. Research on African drumming was collected through enrollment in classes such as: drumming, dance, traditional African ensemble, music academic courses, and private drumming instruction. Other information was also collected through cultural observations, interviews, and educational material. There were three main overlaps that were found between drumming as it is used for therapeutic purposes in music therapy and African drumming as it is found in Ghana: non-verbal communication, self-expression and improvisation, and group support and unity. An exploration of these commonalities may further enable music therapists to bridge the gap between cultures and gain understanding of how multicultural music is incorporated in a therapeutic setting.

Included in

Music Commons


Faculty Mentor

Maureen Hearns

Departmental Honors Advisor

Nicholas Morrison