Informed by observations of its programs, BEAT conducts clinical research on the efficacy of Hip Hop as a pathway to physical and mental wellbeing.

After a decade of programming in public schools, libraries, therapeutic settings, hospitals, and even refugee camps, BEAT’s instructors began to see Hip Hop as an effective pedagogical and therapeutic approach for improving health and wellness outcomes in the communities BEAT served. BEAT decided to follow the evidence and ask why this was happening.

In 2017, BEAT began partnering with clinical researchers to investigate what about beatboxing led to better speech development in young people with speech and communication difficulties. Since that time, BEAT has developed additional partnerships with clinical researchers to investigate other realms of Hip Hop and its impact on health and wellness. Through this research, BEAT seeks to understand and optimize the power of Hip Hop as a pathway to improving health and healing.

Current Research Studies

Impact of Beatboxing on the Speech and Voice Characteristics of Adolescents and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Thanks to generous funding from the JANX Foundation, we’re launching a study in April 2021 with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and Ariel University in Israel to examine the effects of beatboxing on speech and voice characteristics of adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome.

Research Team

Heather grins directly into the camera. She is wearing a black shirt, a necklace and has blonde hair.

Heather Leavy Rusiewicz, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Principal Investigator

Michal Icht grins right into the camera. She is in the outdoors wearing hoop earings and has red hair.

Dr. Michal Icht

Principal Data Analyst

Person in a grey shirt with headphones and a microphone look at the camera.


Beatboxing Facilitator

The purpose of this investigation is to conduct the first experimental study of beatboxing incorporated with speech therapy in a group, teletherapy setting. Results of this study have potential implications for management of speech and communication for individuals with Down syndrome and other I/DDs (Intellectual and Developmental Disorders).

This study will also provide novel data regarding the integration of beatboxing, music, and rhythm in broad application in speech-language pathology. This is also one of few studies to study the engagement of individuals in speech therapy and stands alone in measurement of engagement in virtual delivery of speech therapy in a group setting.

Pending Research Studies

We’re designing a study with New York University to examine whether beatboxing provides the same benefits as making music with traditional instruments. We hope to illustrate how beatboxing can democratize access to the benefits of playing music, no matter your ability or disability.


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