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Meet Steven Angel of Drumming For Your Life Institute in Downey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steven Angel.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started playing the drums at 3 years old. Played with Buddy Rich at age 6 and recorded with Jimi Hendrix at age 16. In my early 40’s, I had an epiphany where drumming and psychology came together. I first created the Life Skills Drumming program and started helping at-risk-youth in detention camps and juvenile halls. I then spent 4 months in a 5th grade class in Venice and developed the Reading & Rhythm program which helps kids improve their reading fluency, comprehension, and teaches all the educational building blocks for students to become excellent readers. I also created the Rhythm of Discovery technique which helps recovering addicts and people suffering from trauma and abuse heal from their past.

Over the past 15 years we have pre and post tested over 4,000 students in reading with an average increase of 52% in just 6 weeks.

Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth ride. We’ve been ahead of the curve but research is now coming out supporting our methodology in reading. At first teachers thought I was talking another language when I described how rhythm can help break through the blockages kids have with reading. There was a lot of resistance to bringing it into the mainstream. We even had Dartmouth College get behind the Reading & Rhythm program, writing a research proposal, but only to get rejected from the N.I.H. We’ve gotten great results through testing and assessments from our programs but the resistance still lingers because we’ve created a fertile integration between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and its wonderful connection to the body. The educational and therapeutic fields are moving in this direction and we’re patient as the tide turns.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Drumming For Your Life Institute story. Tell us more about the business.
Drumming for Your Life is a non-profit 501c3 corporation since 2002. We focus on education and mental health and have three programs that we service out to those in need: The Reading & Rhythm program, a multi-sensory program that improves fluency, comprehension and encompasses all the educational building blocks necessary for students to become excellent readers. We started the program in 2001 and over the years we have pre and post tested over 4,000 students in reading with an average increase of 52% in just 6 weeks. We work with family centers, regional centers, detention camps, charter schools, and home school families. We have also trained LAUSD teachers in the Reading & Rhythm program as well as teachers in Massachusetts and London, England.

We describe how the program works: struggling readers have what we call The Doubtful Internal Voice which sends stress signals into the body creating a lot of anxiety. This makes it very hard for students to focus and concentrate. We use an assertive rhythm played on a book while the student is reading which creates a neural pathway for focus and concentration diffusing The Doubtful Internal Voice and decreasing anxiety.

Second program is our Life Skills Drumming program. This is a psychology based program that combines drumming with visualization techniques and uses Character values such as Honesty, Trust, Independence… to help at-risk youth and adults heal from the psychological damage caused by trauma, abuse and other painful
experiences in their lives. We work this program in juvenile halls, detention camps and with at-risk student populations in charter schools.

Third program is our Rhythm of Discovery technique. We use this technique to work with recovering addicts and people struggling with depression, trauma and abuse. We have worked at Betty Ford Institute, Bridges to Recovery and many other facilities throughout Los Angeles.

Fourth program is our Rhythm of Empowerment technique – We use this technique to work with cancer patients, helping them reduce health-related stress, and feelings of helplessness caused by chronic illness. We have worked at the Wellness Community Centers and weSpark Cancer Support Center.

I love that our company has made such a difference in so many people’s lives. I love to see a child’s face light up when their reading scores have doubled. I love seeing kids and adults’ confidence in themselves dramatically change. I also like that we work with all kinds of people from all walks of life and from different racial, social and economic backgrounds.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see us expanding our programs into Wellness Centers through the Los Angeles Dept. of Mental Health and working with several Regional Centers. I see us bringing our Reading & Rhythm program to more elementary school kids through charter schools and home schooling. Multi-sensory learning is a growing field and I see our programs at the forefront of this movement. We’ll hopefully be working with more kids with learning disabilities throughout Los Angeles and training teachers in other parts of the United States.


  • Reading & Rhythm program: $150.00 per session -.Up to 10 students per session. Twice a week for 6 weeks
  • Reading & Rhythm program: one on one session – $90.00 per class – Twice a week for 6 weeks
  • Life Skills Drumming program: $150.00 per session – Up to 10 participants per class. Twice a week for 6 weeks
  • Rhythm of Discovery: $300.00 per session – Up to 20 participants per session – No minimum amt. of classes
  • Rhythm of Empowerment: $300.00 per session – Up to 20 participants per session – No minimum amt. of classes

Contact Info:

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