According to new neuroscience research, rhythm is rooted in innate functions of the brain, mind, and consciousness. As human beings, we are innately rhythmic. Our relationship with rhythm begins in the womb. At twenty two days, a single (human embryo) cell jolts to life. This first beat awakens nearby cells and incredibly they all begin to beat in perfect unison. These beating cells divide and become our heart. This desire to beat in unison seemingly fuels our entire lives. Studies show that, regardless of musical training, we are innately able to perceive and recall elements of beat and rhythm.
It makes sense then that beat and rhythm are an important aspect in music therapy. Our brains are hard-wired to be able to entrain to a beat. Entrainment occurs when two or more frequencies come into step or in phase with each other. If you are walking down a street and you hear a song, you instinctively begin to step in sync to the beat of the song. This is actually an important area of current music therapy research. Our brain enables our motor system to naturally entrain to a rhythmic beat, allowing music therapists to target rehabilitating movements. Rhythm is a powerful gateway to well-being.
Neurologic Drum Therapy
Neuroscience research has demonstrated the therapeutic effects of rhythmic drumming. The reason rhythm is such a powerful tool is that it permeates the entire brain. Vision for example is in one part of the brain, speech another, but drumming accesses the whole brain. The sound of drumming generates dynamic neuronal connections in all parts of the brain even where there is significant damage or impairment such as in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). According to Michael Thaut, director of Colorado State University’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music, “Rhythmic cues can help retrain the brain after a stroke or other neurological impairment, as with Parkinson’s patients ….” The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become.
Studies indicate that drumming produces deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity. The physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain synchronizes the two cerebral hemispheres. When the logical left hemisphere and the intuitive right hemisphere begin to pulsate in harmony, the inner guidance of intuitive knowing can then flow unimpeded into conscious awareness. The ability to access unconscious information through symbols and imagery facilitates psychological integration and a reintegration of self.
In his book, Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing, Michael Winkelman reports that drumming also synchronizes the frontal and lower areas of the brain, integrating nonverbal information from lower brain structures into the frontal cortex, producing “feelings of insight, understanding, integration, certainty, conviction, and truth, which surpass ordinary understandings and tend to persist long after the experience, often providing foundational insights for religious and cultural traditions.”
It requires abstract thinking and the interconnection between symbols, concepts, and emotions to process unconscious information. The human adaptation to translate an inner experience into meaningful narrative is uniquely exploited by drumming. Rhythmic drumming targets memory, perception, and the complex emotions associated with symbols and concepts: the principal functions humans rely on to formulate belief. Because of this exploit, the result of the synchronous brain activity in humans is the spontaneous generation of meaningful information which is imprinted into memory. Drumming is an effective method for integrating subjective experience into both physical space and the cultural group.
Gagal ke Gunung Batu, Gunung Putri pun jadi.