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Clem Burke Drumming Project

Blondie drummer researching the theraputic benefits of games like Guitar Hero World Tour.

6th February 2009

Blondie drummer Clem Burke is teaming up with researchers from the University of Chichester and the University of Gloucestershire to launch a new research initiative which will investigate the potential health and mental benefits of playing drumming-based interactive computer games.

The research project, being launched at the University of Chichester, West Sussex, on 13th February 2009, is a collaboration between the Clem Burke Drumming Project and Activision (manufacturers of Guitar Hero World Tour), and it will explore what effects popular games can have on childhood and adult obesity, autism and stroke patients. Investigations will also centre on whether interactive video games can aid stress release and improve productivity in the workplace.

The Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBDP) is a unique collaboration between Clem Burke, the University of Chichester and University of Gloucestershire and was set up in July 2008. Clem is flying into the UK specifically for this event and will he will be performing live at the University of Chichester to launch this new research initiative.

Dr. Marcus Smith, Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, at the University of Chichester, said: “We are interested in finding out how interactive video games, such as Guitar Hero World Tour, can improve the health and mental well-being of people. Despite a global recession, sales of interactive video games remain high. As researchers we are interested in understanding why such games are so appealing and how they may be used to investigate specific research questions. We are particularly interested in examining the effects of playing Guitar Hero World Tour on child and adult obesity, autism, stroke patients, disengaged communities, and health and mental well-being in the workplace.

“We are also very excited about investigating the potential benefits of introducing interactive video games into the workplace. Offices around the UK could be transformed into ‘rock venues’, resulting in stress release and fun for the staff, and increased productivity for the business. We are also intrigued to monitor the number of individuals who progress from playing interactive drums kit controllers to full kits similar to those played by Clem.”

World leading brain imagery scientist, Professor Steve Williams from Kings College London, has been working closely with Dr Smith and stated: “Patients with suboptimal brain function such as autism, dyspraxia or stroke may really benefit from this technology. Planning and learning these motor skills in such an entertaining manner may well enhance cognitive flexibility and facilitate recovery from an insult.”

Ian McClellan, senior brand manager from Activision, added: “We hope this collaboration will show the benefits of drumming, either on Guitar Hero World Tour’s drum kit controller or a full kit or, and prove a physiological route between the two. We fully expect some of the next generation of drummers to have graduated from Guitar Hero World Tour – and hope this research project encourages more videogamers to progress to the real instruments.”

Dr. Steve Draper, co-founder of the CBCP project and a Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Gloucestershire, concluded: “Our research has shown that accomplished pop and rock drummers do expend a large amount of energy during practice and performance, the difficulty maybe in how quickly the necessary skills and coordination may be acquired to allow someone to work at this level. Drumming video games are particularly exciting as they may provide an enjoyable and effective means to acquire the complex motor skills required to play on any drum kit.”

Further details are also available at


Notes to Editor

To organise interviews or filming on the day please contact Samantha Philpott, PR Manager, University of Chichester, tel: 01243 812155, mobile: 07500 821422 or email:

The Clem Burke Drumming Project - was launched in the summer of 2008, when it was revealed by scientists at the University of Chichester and the University of Gloucestershire had identified that professional drummers have a heart rate similar to premiership footballers, and they extend huge amounts of energy during live performances.

The University of Gloucestershire has developed the world's first drumming physiology laboratory at its Oxstalls campus in Gloucester.

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