The Rhythm2Recovery model of combining experiential rhythmic music with cognitive reflection draws upon a number of well documented therapeutic approaches, that deliver positive psychological and physiological outcomes. These include research on the benefits of participatory music, the vast documentation that supports cognitive behavioural therapy, and more recent studies showcasing the benefits of acceptance and commitment therapy, positive psychology and mindfulness.
Evaluation and action based research have been integrated into the work we have done using rhythmic music and cognitive reflection since 2004. More recently the original model was extended to include new elements that included Positive Psychology, and Act and Commitment Therapy – incorporating the well documented benefits of these therapeutic approaches. Specific, independent research studies that focused on the first program derived from the combination of rhythm and reflection, DRUMBEAT, began in 2005 at a number of Australian government mental health institutions and across a range of schools. The first peer reviewed journal article appeared in The Australian Music Educators Journal in 2006 and since then there have been seven studies documented in Australian and International journals, with consistent findings of positive social and emotional change. A new study on the use of the model within corrective institutions is due for release early in 2018.
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Throughout history rhythm has been used to embed learning. All of us remember using rhythmic processes for remembering factual information such as the number of days in the different months of the year, or our mathematical times-tables. We have also passed down social learning, ethics and values this way through traditional folk-songs, and nursery rhymes, and maintain this tradition in much of our popular music. Memories embedded rhythmically are amongst the most lasting. A visit to a dementia ward will reveal how after almost everything else is lost, musical memory remains. The Rhythm2Recovery model draws on this understanding to deeply embed social and emotional understanding through rhythmic musical exercises.