Combining music and fitness with many benefits

Cardio-drumming teacher grant is a collaboration between Jessica Hanna (music teacher) & Rayna Longstreet (PE teacher) at Farmin Stidwell Elementary School. It brings music and movement together and meets different needs than sports, especially for more creative kids, Rayna told us. More than that – it’s something kids can learn, improve and succeed at individually. 

Using equipment provided by PAFE (pool noodles, yoga balls, and buckets), students perform a steady beat, play rhythms, show the form of music, and engage with music from different genres and cultures.  Physically, they develop motor skills, build strength and stamina, and move purposefully, demonstrating full-body awareness and control.  

The students learn some of the rhythms during music class, but PE is when they can move with all the equipment. They play along to songs like Queen’s We Will Rock You and either follow instructional videos, which you’ll see in the video below, or create their own routines under Jessica’s leadership. 

The benefits are many. Research shows a significant link between drumming and reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and helping release emotional trauma. It’s also interesting to note that when young students use their arms and legs to move across their body to complete tasks (known as crossing the midline), studies have shown it is likely to improve reading scores. 

As you can see in the video here, Cardio Drumming is accessible to students of all ages and physical abilities. 

Everyone loves it so much that after Farmin/Stidwell uses the equipment (provided by PAFE), they will ship it to another elementary school in the district to use so that all the elementary schools will eventually get the opportunity to do Cardio-Drumming. Students in grade kindergarten through sixth across the district will have access to the equipment, impacting around 1,930 kids for a three- to four-week instruction unit. The total time per student is around four to six hours of the total 36 hours they spend in music or PE annually. 

We asked some students if they were tired afterward, and they responded,  “No, it was fun!.” “Amazing!” “Awesome!”