Beat the Odds Facilitator Training: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming

BTO Logo_WebBeat the Odds integrates the power of contemporary drum circles and group counseling to build core strengths such as focusing and listening, team building, leadership, expressing feelings, managing anger/stress, empathy, and gratitude. It is inclusive, culturally relevant, and does not bear the stigma of therapy.

UCLA researchers have shown that Beat the Odds can significantly reduce a spectrum of behavior problems in children, such as those associated with inattention, withdrawn/depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiance, and sluggish cognitive tempo.

While this program has been designed for use with elementary age children, it can be easily adapted to any population, including older children, families, and older adults. The program can serve a whole classroom at a time and is designed for delivery by school personnel or those without musical experience. Many mental health professionals and teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District and in Santa Clarita Valley have received training in Beat the Odds. No musical experience is necessary to be trained as a Beat the Odds facilitator.

To learn more about the Beat the Odds program, including watching demonstrations and listening to testimonials, visit our videos page, or read publications and media articles featuring Beat the Odds.

program & training materials:

The Beat the Odds curriculum manual (regular price $105 total, after tax) will be available at the training for a special rate of $75 (total, after tax) and the training DVD (regular price $20) will be available at the training for a special rate of $15.  The DVD demonstrates Giselle Friedman, LCSW and Beat the Odds co-developer, delivering every activity in the program to a group of 4th graders.

Click here to purchase curriculum materials in advance, for pickup at the training.  People enrolled in the training, or who have taken the training previously, can obtain the trainee discount for the manual by entering the promo code: BTOMANUAL.  If purchasing the manual and DVD, use the promo code:  BTODVD.  Be sure to click the green button next to the promo code box to activate the promo code.


Saturday, February 4, 2017


12:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Trainees are encouraged to arrive early to watch some or all of the children's drum circle from 11:00 to11:45 am for additional education in drum circle facilitation with children and families.




Ping Ho, MA, MPH
Giselle Friedman, LCSW
Mike DeMenno


REMO Recreational Music Center
7308 Coldwater Canyon
North Hollywood, CA 91605
(818) 982-0461

additional information:

Ping Ho, MA, MPH is Founding Director of UCLArts and Healing, which transforms lives through creative expression for self-discovery, connection and empowerment. UCLArts and Healing is an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, of which Ping is a Steering Committee Member and was the founding administrator. She was also the founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which led to the privilege of writing for Norman Cousins and co-writing the professional autobiography of George F. Solomon, M.D., founder of the field of PNI. In addition, Ping has an extensive background as a health educator and performing artist. She has a BA in psychology with honors from Stanford University, an MA in counseling psychology with specialization in exercise physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MPH in Community Health Sciences from UCLA School of Public Health. Ping is on the Council of Advisors for the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, a national network of educational organizations and agencies in complementary and alternative medicine. She is also a member of a subcommittee for professional learning for CREATE CA, a California Arts Council-initiated collaborative to educate administrators in education regarding the value of the arts for learning and behavior, what constitutes quality arts education, and models for successful implementation and outcomes. She was the principal investigator of the Beat the Odds effectiveness study that was published in the journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  

Giselle Friedman, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who is bicultural and bilingual in Spanish and in English. Giselle received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her master’s degree from USC School of Social Work. As a psychotherapist, she has worked in school settings, agencies, hospitals and private practice, with a focus on children and families. Giselle spent four years as a treating and on-call therapist for Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center’s Rape Treatment Center, Stuart House, and SM-UCLA Psychotherapy Group. She has been working as a full-time psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 2000. In this capacity, Giselle provides individual and group therapy to students and their families at several elementary schools. She also leads parenting classes and educates teachers and staff on topics such as children’s responses to trauma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, childhood depression and anxiety, classroom behavior management, and addressing bullying behavior. Giselle is a member of the school Student Success Teams and she participates in her local district's LAUSD Resource Coordinating Council and neighborhood community meetings.

Mike DeMenno came across a magazine article in 1993 featuring Mickey Hart and Arthur Hull where the mission was to use drumming for community building and personal well being. Within a year, Mike began facilitating drum circles for kids at risk throughout Los Angeles.  In 2003, Mike became the Manager of the first recreational music center. Under the mentorship of Remo Belli, the REMO Recreational Music Center in North Hollywood, CA, has developed into an extraordinary place dedicated to bringing rhythm and music to people from all walks of life.  Mike has also not only found himself working closely with Mickey Hart on several projects over the years, but also has been under the mentorship of Arthur Hull for the past ten years.  Mike considers drumming to be his life raft.  He maintains his passion for the drum set as well as helping others to experience playing music for personal joy.

Provider Name: Arts and Healing Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Provider Number: 4468.

Continuing Education credits for LCSWs, MFTs, and RNs can be requested during the registration process for an additional $25. This course meets the qualifications for 5-1/2 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Continuing Education Units for RNs are provided by Helen Kiger, Provider No. CEP10957. This class is approved for 5-1/2 contact hours of continuing education credit for RNs as required by the CA Board of Registered Nursing. If you are interested in CEUs for RNs, then advance notice is required, as we are unfortunately not able to accommodate RN CEU requests on the day of the program. For RN CEU requests, simply let us know via email at, with the subject header, "RN CEU Request," so we can ensure we have the appropriate paperwork prepared for you on the day of the program.

learning objectives for ceus:

1. Participants will learn at least three rhythmically-oriented activities for building positive social and emotional behavior.

2. Participants will learn at least three ways to use reflection and self-disclosure to build positive social and emotional behavior.

3. Participants will learn about the scientific evidence that supports this program.

4. Participants will learn guidelines for management of activities, behavior, and logistics.

5. Participants will be able to state at least two ways in which rhythm, reflection, and self-disclosure would be useful in a nursing practice.

6.  Participants will be able to state two ways in which this information can be useful in the practice of nursing.

Click here for directions to REMO Recreational Music Center. Free parking is available in the back of the building and on the street.

Please submit questions via email to or telephone us at (310) 452-1439.

  • Second-time, repeat participants can take the training for half price by entering the promotional code BTO50 when registering online.

  • Participants taking the training for the third time (or more) can enroll for a quarter of the price by entering the promotional code BTO75 when registering online.

  • Special discount for school personnel: Full-time elementary, middle, or high school personnel may enroll at a $5 discount by entering the promotional code BTOTEACHER during checkout.

  • Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Please email to make arrangements.

  • Limited opportunities for scholarship/work exchange may be available for those under financial hardship. Inquiries should be sent, with a telephone number and good time(s) to call, via email to

  • Prior to the training, please view the 10" clip from a documentary film of our work with Beat the OddsClick here to view the trailer.

  • Arrive early if you want to observe the large Kids Rhythm Club drum circle from 11:00 to 11:40 for young children and families.

  • Drums will be provided.

  • Please remember to bring lunch, snacks, and beverages as there are no food sources immediately adjacent to the building.

  • Curriculum materials will be available for purchase at the training.

  • Dress in layers (the air conditioning at the Remo Recreational Music Center can be extremely effective!).