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Discovering Relationships Using Music, Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts (DRUMBEAT) is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention that uses music to engage participants, teach social skills, and build-self-esteem. Developed by the Western Australian drug and alcohol treatment agency Holyoake, the program was designed to address the difficulties in engaging young people, particularly those at-risk and those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, using traditional interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

The DRUMBEAT program has four components including:

Essentially the program seeks to combine musical expression with basic cognitive behavioural therapy in anticipation of achieving several social learning outcomes: emotional control; improved relationships; and increased self-esteem. Through enhancing social competency, the risk of alienation is reduced and engagement in future drug and alcohol use is minimised.

The DRUMBEAT program can be delivered in a range of settings including primary schools, high schools, youth centres, alcohol and other drug rehabilitation facilities, and detention facilities.

DRUMBEAT training is provided by Holyoake and is open to teachers, educators, counsellors, juvenile justice workers, and youth workers.

Several evaluations have been undertaken on the DRUMBEAT program and findings have shown the program is effective in engaging young people, including Aboriginal young people at risk of alienation from mainstream society. Participants involved in the program have reported a range of positive outcomes including: enhanced social skills; increased self-esteem; improved school attendance; decrease in classroom behavioural incidents; and greater cooperation.

Abstract adapted from Holyoake


75 Canning Highway
Victoria Park WA 6100
PO Box 322
Victoria Park WA 6979
Ph: (08) 9416 4444
Fax: (08) 9416 4443

Related publications

Faulkner S, Wood L, Ivery P, Donovan R (2012)

It Is not just music and rhythm . . . evaluation of a drumming-based intervention to improve the social wellbeing of alienated youth.

Children Australia; 37(1): 31 - 39

Holyoake (2010)

Report into the implementation of the social development program drumbeat: discovering relationships using Music, beliefs, emotions, attitudes & thoughts with prisoners from the Alice Springs facility.

Alice Springs, NT: Holyoake

Evaluated publications

Holyoake Institute for Drug & Alcohol Addiction Resolutions, Midlands Education Aboriginal Office (2010)

An evaluation of the music therapy intervention ‘DRUMBEAT' with alienated youth in the wheatbelt of Western Australia.

Newcastle, NSW: Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle


Last updated: 31 March 2017
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