You Can Make a Nothing Day All Seem Worth While!

Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good

Have you ever heard the expression don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good? Are you better than the math teacher when you help your kids with their homework? Is a tennis coach better than the player – no!

Perfection is different than explaining, guiding, and assisting. It’s not being “the best” but I’ve noticed that people who have made it their mission to help others and make their lives better are sometimes afraid to tackle somethiing when they’re not “perfect” at it.

Drum therapy does a lot for people of all ages and especially for people living in retirement, assisted living, and nursing homes, with PTSD sufferers, and people with a whole slew of diseases.  A major stumbling block, though, is that activity directors, CNAs, therapists, caregivers, and volunteers, won’t do it themselves and make their only option to bring in a professional.

Maybe they should!

“Maybe my best isn’t as good as someone else’s, but for a lot of people, my best is enough.”


-Lindsey Stirling

While bringing someone in is a big step towards providing residents with a better quality of life and is great fun to do on occasion, there are many logistical concerns that may make it impractical.

  1. This is a therapy that can only be provided by a professional on an infrequent basis if at all.
  2. Some facilities are located in an area that doesn’t have access to this type of therapy.
  3. Most other places can’t afford to bring somebody in with their equipment often enough to see the long-term benefits that research illustrates.


Scientific research has illustrated many points that are associated with group drum therapy. This includes many physical, mental, and social benefits.

But there is another advantage that gets less attention. Did you know that drumming actually synchronizes the two hemispheres of the brain?

Drumming is one of the few activities that uses both the creative side AND the logical side of the brain. This can actually lead to getting better sleep, being more creative, improved immunity, enhanced mental processing, reduced stress, less fatigue, and potential reduction and addictive tendencies.

If you were to see even half of those changes in your residents, wouldn’t that be awesome?!

And this doesn’t even account for the advantages that aren’t accounted for. Advantages like increasing range of motion and functionality, the feeling of being young again (fun, invigorating, and contemplative), and energizing. Why would you ever deprive your residents of this in their golden years?

“That was one of the most exciting programs I’ve experienced in a very long time. So entertaining and instructive and creative…..not enough words to describe”


-email from a resident at one of my recent sessions


Isn’t a Better Quality of Life in Everybody’s Best Interest?

I started by saying don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is something I feel strongly about. It’s great to be able to bring in someone to perform this activity but we need to be realistic.

Remember that leading people, if you have some basic tools, is not only easy – but it can and will bring you closer together as you work through activities that are best for your particular group!

There is a whole set of videos (including how to make easy instruments and links to cheap ones), instructions, and easy-to-follow plans (like I use) for leading drum circles (group drumming) with your patients Here. It’s tons of fun, therapeutic, and it makes you more marketable!

“Never had one lesson!”


-Ferris Bueller


I spend a lot of time providing group drum therapy for others.  I love it and they love it.  I can only get to a place so often, though.

If you can do it every day, see the smiles on their faces, and feel the advantages that research (which is performed in a short amount of time on a very regular and consistent basis – that’s how research is done), why wouldn’t you?

Raise Resident Quality of Life and Save Money at the Same Time

Have you ever been in a situation where you wake up at three in the morning and an idea comes to you that’s so obvious, so simple, that you can’t believe it didn’t occur to you before.

This happened to me with group drum therapy. As a person that visits a lot of nursing homes and assisted living homes to perform this kind of activity, I assumed that you needed all of the correct experience and knowledge in order to do it.

But what I found was that I had a better experience when the therapist or other attendant was walking around helping me out. It occurred to me that in order to get the best, most therapeutic, and most fun results for the residents, the therapists or attendants needed to be involved.

They’re the experts. They have the knowledge of and the relationships and rapport with the residents.  More than that – they can do this every day, if they want.

I know they probably wouldn’t, but a lot of the value comes from frequency – as you do it more, the participants get more comfortable with the idea and become more creative – and more active!  There’s a better chance that they’ll remember what you did the time before.  There is a lot of value in making this a regular part of your routine.

So why do I need to be there? I know that people respond better to a new face and somebody that they can associate with only that activity. The reality is, though, that I can only get to a certain facility every month or so and that’s all they can afford!

It’s really just a matter of having the tools. If members of the staff or volunteers know how to perform the sessions, they can do this all of the time and have an effective way not only for the residents to enjoy themselves but also to stimulate physical, mental, and social activities.

They don’t need to understand music theory and have the ability to play a song on the guitar!  Don’t get me wrong – there’s value in that and I have a great deal of respect for the therapists that do that.  They don’t have to, though.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  There is tremendous value in group drumming and it is not the same thing as music therapy.

Group drumming (e.g. a drum circle) is a scientifically proven but underutilized therapy and a very effective way to play games, review trivia, and do just about anything else you want – and creating the instruments, decorating, and personalizing them, can be a separate activity that can be repeated, all in itself!

The best part, though, is that it’s free (once someone is trained). When your volunteers conduct the activity, the residence will get as much if not more out of each session and it’s an easy enrichment activity to do when nothing else is booked or planned!

At a time when budgets are tight and money is shifted away from activities and enrichment, this is a great way to raise the quality of life of residence while saving money.

If you’re interested in leading drum therapy at your facility – this will get you started: