Reader in Sport and Exercise Science (University of Chichester)
Marcus first became aware of the band Blondie in 1977 when he purchased their first 12 inch single at the tender age of 12.
Marcus’s first experience of seeing Clem play live took place in January 1980 at the Birmingham Odeon aged 14.
Jump forward 18 years and Blondie reform.
The timing of this reunion coincided with Marcus’s completion of a PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester.
Marcus’s PhD contained data collected over a 10 year period whilst working with the England and Great Britain Olympic boxing team. This exposure to elite performers allowed him to develop a scientific model of analysing physical performance.
Richie Woodhall – a true Olympian, boxing at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
After watching Clem play live with Blondie at the London Lyceum in 1998 Marcus wrote to Clem asking whether he would be interested in collaborating on a research project exploring the physiological demands of drumming. Clem agreed and this was the start of a 20 year journey of discovery that has resulted in collaborative work being undertaken with incredible people across a range of fascinating topics.
The following section provides a brief overview of some of the major events that Marcus has been directly involved in. More detailed information, such as publication of research articles, can be located in different sections of the website.
Marcus first met Clem prior to Blondie’s ‘No Exit’ European Tour gig at Wembley Arena in 1999. A friendship was quickly developed based upon mutual respect for each others area of expertise. A programme of work was established with the first recording of Clem’s heart rate captured during a live performance at Bournemouth International Centre. This data was first published in a book edited by Allan Metz.
In 2004 the first measurement of estimated energy expenditure took place at Blondie’s gig at the Manchester Apollo. This work was undertaken with colleagues Dr Steve Draper and Dr Chris Potter.
In 2008 the Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBDP) was launched and became a global news story.
The main person who facilitated the successful launch of the CBDP in 2008 was Marcus’s dear friend Steve Rendle. Steve was the driving force behind the development of the first CBDP website and was always there for Marcus when he needed help and support. Marcus will be forever grateful and Steve is always in his thoughts.
The trademark CBDP logo was also designed in 2008 incorporating the letters CBDP and red/white/blue target image.
First research findings highlighting the physiological demands of drumming were presented at the 2008 British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Conference (London) and the 2008 European Colleges of Sport Science (Portugal).
Clem’s first visit to the University of Chichester took place in 2009 where he not only showcased his drumming skills to local school children but also discussed the importance of collaboration between musicians, academics and business.
In 2009 co-founding members of the CBDP presented research findings at the London International Music Show and the Cheltenham Science Festival, supported by Darrin Mooney (drummer, Primal Scream).
In 2010 research findings were presented at the Biorhythm Live event in Dublin (Ireland – supported by Jeremy Hickey, drummer RSAG) and the 6th Games for Health Annual Conference in Boston (USA – supported by Kevin Figueiredo, drummer Extreme).
The award of an Honorary Doctorate of Music (PhD) for Clem in 2011 was significant in terms of the academic recognition for the quality of research being undertaken by the CBDP.
Marcus presented findings from the first CBDP study using drumming as an intervention among primary school children at the 2011 Wellbeing Conference (Birmingham, England).
To accompany the 2012 Olympic Games in London The International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport was held in Glasgow (Scotland). Representatives from the CBDP gave a number of presentations, supported by Mark Richardson (drummer, Skunk Anansie).
Also in 2012 Marcus became a Visiting Researcher at Kings College London where he collaborated with Professor Steve Williams on a research bid that secured funding from the Waterloo Foundation Charity. This funding led to research that showed the positive effects on brain structure and function following drumming practice.
In 2013 the first manuscript was published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine highlighting the physiological demands of rock drumming.
The thermal challenge of drumming was first presented at the 2013 European Colleges of Sports Science conference in Barcelona. A big thank you to Jamie Oliver (drummer, UK SUBS).
A personal highlight of the work undertaken so far by the CBDP was a presentation Marcus gave at the 2014 British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference (Manchester). With the support of Mark Richardson (drummer, Skunk Anansie) they were able to demonstrate the potential health benefits of drumming as a physical activity and its role in cardiac rehabilitation.
In 2015 Marcus was approached by Tony Barrell about contributing to his book ‘Born to Drum’. This was an interesting experience and highlighted a different method of sharing our experiences with the outside world.
The first publication of our research findings showing changes in connectivity pathways within the human brain following drumming practice appeared in the neuroscience journal ‘Cerebral Cortex’ in 2016.
In 2017 the Waterloo Foundation Charity agreed to fund our first study examining the effect of drumming practice, on brain plasticity, in young autistic adults.
Also in 2017 Clem visited the University of Chichester as part of a SKY ARTS documentary called ‘MY VIEW: Clem Burke’ focusing on his life as a drummer. Clem underwent a series of drumming specific tests developed by the CBDP.
In 2018 our first paper highlighting the health and wellbeing benefits of drumming amongst 7 and 8 year old children in a primary school environment was published.
The launch of a new website and logo to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the CBDP also took place in 2018.
Also in 2018 Marcus was part of a team that secured funding from the University of Chichester and Hartpury University Centre to undertake research exploring the health benefits of drumming among autistic young adults.