Interactive group drumming (IGD) in the hospital:

An effective music intervention for hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients


  • John R. Beck UNC School of the Arts Wake Forest University
  • Ruth M. Walker Moskop Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, USA
  • Katharine E. Duckworth
  • Richard P. McQuellon
  • Gregory B. Russell
  • Zanetta Lamar
  • Cesar Rodriguez Valdes


Hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients often experience prolonged hospitalization and significant stressors.  This hospital inpatient oncology unit1 pilot study utilized percussion instruments to promote wellness. Thirty-five patients were scheduled for four interactive group drumming (IGD) in-room sessions during their hospital treatment. Investigators met patients to facilitate a 30-minute drumming session; measures of energy, mood, relaxation, distress, pain, and anxiety were administered before and after each session. Mean scores on all measures improved from pre to post IGD. 100% of participants reported that the drumming sessions increased their satisfaction with their hospital stay.  Patient energy improved in 81% of the sessions, mood improved in 88%, relaxation increased in 84%, and 49% of the sessions resulted in decrease in pain. Patients’ distress decreased in 63%, and anxiety decreased in 68% of the sessions.


This simple and distinctive complementary therapy was incorporated into inpatient care and could be integrated into cancer care on a regular basis.  

Author Biography

John R. Beck, UNC School of the Arts Wake Forest University

Professor of Percussion


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