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Blondie Drummer Clem Burke Reveals the Health Benifits of Drumming

Published: Thu June 18, 2009  News Feed

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Clem Burke, drummer with the band, Blondie has been taking part in the study for the past eight years, which will reveal that physical demands of drumming during a performance are equivalent to those experienced by a premiership footballer during a match.


Burke’s heart rate average between 140/150 beats per minute and he burnt between 400 and 600 calories per hour during trials.

Physiological tests included the measurement of heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate in rehearsal tests and monitoring heart rate and blood lactate during live stage performances.

Dr Marcus Smith from the University of Chichester and Dr Steve Draper from the University of Gloucestershire conducted this groundbreaking research.

Dr Smith said:”There is a clear link between fitness and performance. Musicians need exceptional stamina to sustain optimum output especially when on tour.

“Footballers can normally expect to play 40 to 50 games a year. In one 12 month period, Clem played 90-minute sets at 100 concerts. When you consider the implications of touring on top of the performance requirements for high-profile drummers, it is clear that their fitness levels need to be outstanding.

“Through monitoring Clem’s performance in controlled conditions, we have been able to map the extraordinary stamina required by professional drummers. We can now use this data to benefit others.

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A unique dedicated drumming laboratory will be built at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus and over the coming months it is envisaged that other professional drummers will come forward to undertake physiological profiling.

Via the Clem Burke Drumming Project, academics from the Department of Health, Sport and Social Care also aim to join forces with the University’s popular music degree course to develop community outreach programmes targeting overweight and disengaged youngsters.


Dr Steve Draper said: “This is the first facility of its kind in the world and we are extremely excited about the potential here. It is a unique collaboration between science and arts.”


Joe Wilson, course leader in popular music added:”The popular music course is ideally placed to support this research; this is an original and imaginative project that will potentially encourage new thought into how creative and physical acts can be scientifically analysed.”

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