«DrumPower Against Violence» – Scientific Results

by Dr. Andreas Wölfl, Project Management

The effectiveness of the DrumPower project method was examined in several evaluation studies between 2009 and 2019.

Initially, two studies were carried out at two Bavarian secondary schools, with Peter Uffelmann of Competto Consulting Network GmbH as the scientific cooperation partner. The research design was developed together with the project management, the studies were conducted independently. Both projects were evaluated in co-operation with the Institute for Psychosocial Intervention and Communication Research at the University of Innsbruck, Faculty of Education under the direction of Ass. Prof. Dr. Arthur Drexler.

The first study examined whether the interventions carried out in the treatment classes lead to changes in comparison to the control classes with regard to

  • of social behaviour
  • the learning behaviour
  • the willingness to act aggressively
  • the ability to empathise
  • of prosociality
  • of aggressive behaviour
  • of conflict behaviour
  • mutual consideration

The second study focused on the questions whether the interventions lead to

  • an improvement of the overall classroom climate or individual climate dimensions
  • more pronounced team understanding and increased cooperation
  • improved relationships and social contacts as well as improved social behaviour with special emphasis on empathy and helpfulness within the classes
  • positive changes in the pupils' subjective perception of social and performance pressure in the classes

The following areas of importance for team development and classroom atmosphere were examined:

  • Cooperation
  • Self-perception
  • Empathy and helpfulness
  • Social contacts, social relations, individual and general social behaviour
  • Pupil-teacher interactions
  • Well-being

Both evaluation designs used both quantitative and qualitative instruments (questionnaires or interviews with teachers and trainers). In this way, correlations between the interventions carried out and changes over time were investigated with regard to the characteristics of individual variables.

Selection of the results from Study I, which show significant differences between treatment group and control group (school year 2008/09)

In the treatment group the following were recorded

  • Decrease in the frequency and readiness for aggression
  • More empathy, especially among male pupils
  • Pro-sociality increases - especially among pupils* with a migration background
  • Increase in self-confidence and learning behaviour, particularly with regard to stamina, willingness to make efforts and concentration
  • Cohesion and positive interaction in the classroom have improved significantly
  • Increase of self-confidence and adequate self-assertion

Selection of the results from Study II, which show significant differences between treatment group and control group (school year 2010/11)

In the treatment group the following were recorded

  • Increase in cooperation
  • Increase in appropriate self-assertion
  • Increase in self-perception - especially among girls
  • Increase in positive social contacts
  • Acceptance of performance pressure
  • Increased empathy and willingness to help - especially among girls
  • Improving social behaviour

A further evaluation study (Zerbe 2016) on the DrumPower project in the work with unaccompanied minor refugees (2015 and 2016) was able to show, on the basis of data collection forms and interviews on self-assessment and external assessment, that the young people in the various institutions enjoyed participating in the projects.

Impulsive youths were able to use the experiences in the projects to regulate their emotions, whereas quiet and anxious youths became more self-confident and sometimes appeared more cheerful in the project sequences.

The project work was helpful for the unaccompanied minor refugees to come into contact and to deal with each other, for example in exercises to set limits (say stop) and to respect the limits of others. Staff reported that the project work had reduced violence in the institution.

The results of a comparative study (Bayrhof 2019) with primary school classes of the 2nd grade show potential effects of DrumPower project work with regard to

  • Positive involvement
  • Promotion of contact and integration
  • Promotion of self-confidence
  • Experiencing pride
  • Promotion of musicality
  • Positive mood change through specific exercises
  • Promotion of conflict resolution skills

Overall, the scientific evaluation studies show that the DrumPower method has positive effects on the psychosocial skills of pupils and promotes cohesion and cooperation within the class. In order to improve inclusion at schools, it is necessary to integrate psychosocial skills and abilities more clearly into educational processes than has been the case so far. DrumPower is very well suited for this.

Moreover, the interviews in the studies show that teachers also benefit from it, especially in the refinement and professionalization of their psychosocial perception skills.

«Prevention is generally the future of biological, psychological and social health hygiene in societies. Because violence presents a real problem in today's world, the ‹DrumPower› approach is, with its medium of music particularly popular amongst young people and with its proven music therapy approach in clinical practice, a very sensible starting point.»

Prof. Dr. Tonius Timmermann
Former Director, Degree Programme Music Therapy
The Leopold Mozart Centre at the University of Augsburg