Drummer in action. © Can Stock Photo / carloscastilla

Drummers Sought For Injury Study

Are drummers more prone to injury than other musicians?

That’s the main question being examined in a study by the University of Windsor’s department of kinesiology.

Musicians who pound the skins in rock or jazz bands are being asked to take part in a survey which will gather information on discomfort or actual injuries drummers have suffered.

Dr. Nadia Azar, an associate professor at the University of Windsor, is overseeing the study. She says the idea first came about a year ago when she attended a concert by the hard rock band Dream Theater and was fascinated by the movements of the man sitting behind the drum kit.

“I was watching Mike Mangini, their drummer, playing and thinking how cool it would be to be able to get him in my lab to study what his muscles were doing and his movements and such,” says Azar.

Azar made contact with Mangini soon after and he agreed to provide information on his technique and movement while drumming, and this became the genesis for the current study.

Compared to other instruments in rock or jazz bands, the drum kit is clearly the most involved and physically-demanding. Azar has also been studying the energy of drummers during live performances but in this case she wants to focus on another aspect.

“I’m looking to find out specifically what are the types of injuries that drummers face,” says Azar. “What are the patterns of injuries, meaning which body areas are typically affected and major types of injuries there are?”

This study is not designed to look at percussionists in orchestras, since those playing timpani drums, the xylophone, or similar instruments are not using their bodies as much as rock or jazz drummers.

Drummers are being encouraged to participate in this confidential survey. Azar says she will take the information and use it as a springboard to more specific studies that examine the correlation between certain body movements and injuries suffered by drummers.

Any drummer 18 years of age or older, and regularly drumming for at least five hours a week regardless of genre, may take part in the survey.

Complete information on the survey is available through the university’s kinesiology department. Details are also available on Dr. Azar’s Facebook page.