[KHTS] – Remo Inc., the world-renowned maker of drums and percussion instruments headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley, has a new innovation in a line of products using drums to educate and heal.
The newest drum implements Comfort Sound Technology to create the NSL, or Not So Loud drum, which has myriad applications, said Remo Belli, the founder of a company whose name has become synonymous with drumming and drumheads.
NSL drum table
Taking advantage of decades of studies, research and experience, Remo’s newest drum produces a beat allowing for it to be more effective in group settings where multiple drums can be used at once.
“(The NSL) is certainly directed specifically at the therapeutic community,” said John Fitzgerald, manager of recreational music activities at Remo.
One beneficial element is because the drum employs the Comfort Sound Technology, it’s not as loud, making it useful settings such as the classroom, where you might otherwise have volume concerns if there’s a different class next door, Fitzgerald said.
There’s also a growing list of applications for the Comfort Sound Technology behind the drum, from healing to education to behavioral modification, Belli said.
“The Comfort Sound Technology employed in NSL drums reduces the volume of many of the frequencies that are found to be disturbing with those who have sound sensitives, such as the autistic, and returning veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Fitzgerald said.
This latest product is part of a musical evolution beginning more than two decades ago, of which the Remo brand has consistently been on the forefront.
The engineering behind the drum involved taking out the higher intonations that a drum produces, Belli explains.
How Remo’s healing through music began
“The whole picture has to do more with a thought that developed 22 years ago, when a combination of things happened,” Belli said. “The music products industry was wondering, ‘Where do we go? What can we do? Where else can what we do be used?’”
The first obstacle is often removing the threat most people feel when approached with the idea of playing an instrument, Belli said.
Traditionally, fewer than 10 percent of the population plays an instrument, Belli said.
But the idea was not to train musicians, it was to have more people engage in the process of playing music.
Once it became clear there was this need, and an opportunity to help, Belli led his company down a path that would make the Remo name pioneers in the field.
The concept of Comfort Sound Technology offers benefits for everyone from premature babies to those suffering from alzheimer’s, through a variety of different instruments, Belli said.
The NSL drum comes in several different sizes, which is useful for different-sized groups.
The Comfort Sound Technology applications go beyond medical or therapeutic uses, though, Belli said.
“We’re the toolmakers,” Belli said, “so what kind of a hammer do you need to build that house?”
Using drum music in education and healing
“It does contribute to the learning process, even if you never become a musician,” Belli said, citing numerous music studies that have been conducted.
The promise of a study by neuroscientist Barry Bittman, which Remo has been a big supporter of, led to numerous other applications, Belli said.
There are approximately 24,000 secondary schools using Remo equipment, a list that grows constantly.
Remo also offers training sessions at its facility for those interested in treating patients, clients and students with therapeutic drum work.
The behavioral modification aspect of it has myriad applications, Belli said, but the concept has also gained a great deal of traction in the traditional medical community.
“In a nutshell, there’s a neuroscientist (Bittman), who believes that drumming is not just good for the soul, but good for the body,” said Atonia Bouyer, who took part in one of the HealthRHYTHMS trainings Remo offers. “It helps to decrease the stress, mood is enhanced, there’s more of a connection with the people who you’re drumming with, and there’s a connection with the immune system.”
Bouyer is a therapist who’ll be leading the drum program at Action Family Counseling, a Santa Clarita Valley family and drug counseling center, is a licensed marriage and family counselor volunteering her time to help at Action.
Music and healing come together in Santa Clarita Valley
One of the growing populations that Remo is looking to serve locally and internationally with its new technology is the “at-risk” youth population, which is one of the fastest growing segments worldwide, Belli said.
In Santa Clarita, Action Family Counseling recently began offering a new treatment for teens and families looking to help themselves, courtesy of a partnership with Remo drums.
“We’re trying to get them used to doing any kind of fun and exciting thing that isn’t drug- or alcohol-related,” said Cary Quashen, founder of Action Family Counseling.
“There’s many things that they can do and have a great time that are clean and sober,” he added. “Everyone knows it takes a village, and this is just one more piece of it.”
The therapeutic program is something that Remo Inc., a renowned drum and percussion company for more than 50 years, developed as part of its HealthRHYTHMS program, which is overseen by Alyssa Janney, HealthRHYTHMS manager for Remo.
These programs are aimed at one of the main goals of Action Family Counseling, which involves changing the thinking process for teens who walk through the door, Quashen said
“These are really great kids and we want to help them make better choices,” he said. “They are already hardwired in with a lot of negative stuff, and we’re trying to re-wire them right now to a better spot. If we can change their thinking, then everybody’s a winner.”
Belli, who took somewhat of a risk by trying to pioneer these instruments, said he’s encouraged by the growing list of applications for the Not So Loud drum and Comfort Sound Technology.
“I’m fortunate enough in that I’ve developed a tool that has a frequency that is now friendly to disabilities,” Belli said. “The instruments that we’re beginning to make, that we’ve been testing for the last year and a half to two years, have had a 100 percent success rate.
“They contribute to an industry that isn’t attempting to cure anything, because it can’t be cured,” Belli said. “But it’s an industry that is assigned to accommodating a situation that’s very, very difficult.”