Why an Australian program is drumming up rave reviews in the USA

Holyoake’s DRUMBEAT program won the prestigious 2018 Exemplary Model Program Award from Florida Music Education Association (FMEA).


The answer lies in the incredible results achieved by this innovative program in 2016:

  • 20 teachers trained to become accredited facilitators
  • 270 students participated in the program
  • 50% reduction in the number of behavioural incidents
  • 30% increase in school attendance

Word spread rapidly, and the next year 55 teachers became accredited facilitators and 875 students participated in the program.

“DRUMBEAT is a program that every student can benefit from. We’ve seen big changes in behaviour from participants.” said Willie Morris a Teacher from Chain of Lakes Elementary.

The FMEA award further acknowledges the fact that DRUMBEAT breaks down communication barriers and connects participants meaningfully with themselves and others. This structured learning program uses drumming to engage students, lift their self-confidence and teach a range of life skills.

Dig a little deeper and it becomes apparent that DRUMBEAT is unlike other fun drumming programs because of its sound evidence base. Independent research has proved the efficacy of this therapeutic program in various settings www.holyoake.org.au/drumbeat/about-us/evidence-research/

DRUMBEAT has been rolled out across more than 40 schools in Polk County, Florida. Holyoake’s USA Master Trainer Jessica Fredricks said the program is in high demand with schools on a waiting list for a facilitator. “Rhythm is a great tool that engages both halves of the brain – so when teachers incorporate rhythm into their lessons you get more bang for your educational buck; students learn faster and retain the information for longer. I think this is really going to revolutionize education in the States, because it is evidence-based and outcome orientated, there is science behind this.” says Jessica.

The FMEA award is a powerful endorsement for DRUMBEAT which started as a pilot program in regional Western Australia in 2003 and has grown rapidly to become an internationally successful social enterprise.