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

BTO_Registered_Logo_WebBeat the Odds® (BTO) is an evidence-based and trauma-informed program that 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—all from the comfort of home.

As in the live training, our inaugural online training will cover all the activities in the program as well as the key guidelines; however, some footage from previous trainings or sessions with students will be shown in lieu of some individual practice with facilitating activities that occurs in the live training. No musical experience is required. Limited space available.

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Odds® can significantly reduce a spectrum of behavior problems in children, such as those associated with inattention, withdrawn/depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiance, and sluggish cognitive tempo. In addition, the curriculum is inclusive, culturally relevant, and does not bear the stigma of therapy.

bto-training_large-groupWhile Beat the Odds® has been designed for use with elementary age children, it can be easily adapted to any population, including teens, families, and older adults. The program can serve a whole classroom at a time and offers a scripted manual to enable delivery by school personnel or other professionals without musical experience.

To learn more about the Beat the Odds® program, visit our BTO information page, view the documentary trailer, watch a testimonial, and read publications and media articles featuring BTO.

training material:

Written by the Beat the Odds® program developers, the easy-to-follow manual contains the scripted curriculum and booster/demo session. Full of pointers, explanations of the purposes of each activity, and guidelines for managing activities, behavior, and logistics, the manual and accompanying DVD (which showcases each activity in the program) is the ideal pair to learn the BTO program at home, or as part of the facilitator training.

special promotions:

  • When registering for the BTO training, trainees can also purchase the accompanying BTO training materials for 30% off. After adding the training to your cart below, the promotional-offer pop-up will appear. Simply select which BTO training materials you would like to purchase, add it to your cart, and the 30% off-discount will be automatically applied in your shopping cart.

  • Second-time, repeat participants can take the training for half price by entering BTO50 in the coupon-code field during checkout.

  • Participants taking the training for the third time (or more) can enroll for a quarter of the price by entering BTO75 in the coupon-code field during checkout.


Saturday, October 26, 2019


9:00 am to 1:00 pm PST



Add CEs for this program.


Ping Ho, MA, MPH
Mike DeMenno


This is an online through Zoom. Links and info will be provided to ensure ease with this platform. Watch a how-to Zoom tutorial here.

additional information:

BTO Program Delivery Testimonials:

“Beyond the fun, openness, vulnerability and connectedness that occurred, I found myself awestruck by the depths of the students reflections. Some talked about how this made them feel calm, others focused, confident, happy, etc. One student, who speaks in whispers, led a wave. A few shy students celebrated their names with loud, silly rhythms. . . . Within the first few minutes of the first class, I couldn't believe how much insight I could learn about the health and hurts of my kids. This experience allowed me to gain so much perspective on students' mindset and impulses, pains and insecurities. And of course, above all, we had a wicked good time. “ — Rebecca Perentin, Department Teacher Leader, English Language Arts (ELA), Delsesto Middle School in Providence, RI, reflecting after delivering BTO to her sixth and seventh grade classes.

“ . . . once we went through the [BTO] experience though, I have to say, my class is closer now, then I’ve ever probably had a class . . . and it’s because they’re able to express themselves, they’re able to take chances in front of one another, which is something that they do in class, but they were able to be all on the same level, and they were able to have these wonderful discussions through the rhythms . . . it’s made a huge impact. The conversations now that we have in our class are deeper then they were before we started. And everyone feels comfortable. So, now, because you took a chance with Beat the Odds, now you can come back and take a chance with math, or language arts . . . I completely recommend it. I wish we could do it every single week. I can’t see where we would be without it.” — Mr. Soqui, 6th Grade Teacher in the Newhall School District, excerpt taken from his video testimonial.

"I used the program in a setting that had special day classes, English language learners and then general population. The most significant result was the development of an inclusive spirit among my students. Drumming, a universal language, evened the playing field. It helped to build empathy, acceptance, and gave all children a chance to lead and shine. Students in general became more tolerant and generally happy.” —Dr. Deborah Bohn, Principal of James Foster Elementary School in the Saugus Union School District, who reported on the outcomes of Beat the Odds at Skyblue Mesa Elementary School, where she previously served as principal.

“The classroom that I selected was an all boys class, several of them with serious behavior issues, a couple of the kids are on medications. However, once we started with the drumming, you would have never thought these children were nothing but well behaved young kids . . . Best of all, was the camaraderie that developed amongst the class members. They will not miss school on Wednesday so as not to miss the [BTO] class. A parent came early to pick up a student on the day we had the last class, this student refused to go and the parent had to come back an hour later when the class was over.” ­— Carmen Lima, psychiatric social worker in the Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

“As a supervisor of a counseling program in the LAUSD, I am always looking for ways to motivate, support, and rejuvenate my staff who are deployed in the schools hardest hit by the influences of poverty, gangs, drugs, and violence. They have responded with amazing enthusiasm to drumming and recreational music making . . . I know of no other intervention that has sparked the interest, enthusiasm, and hope in the counselors I supervise. The process seems to motivate the counselors to use the method with their students while bestowing measurable health benefits in the counselor delivering the intervention. It is a win-win for all involved . . . I am thrilled that several of our schools have purchased the drums and see the health benefits for themselves as healers and as a tool for facilitating healing and hope in our students.” — Karen Timko, former LAUSD Coordinator of Primary Intervention and Elementary Counseling Services

“I am sooooo amazed at the transparency of the students. This week we did the drumming of ‘I am valuable oh yeah.’ One boy said, ‘I feel valuable when my dad spends time with me. He doesn't very often because he smokes and . . .’ At that point, he looked down. I think the class felt his pain even without him finishing the sentence. We went on to talk about how we make others feel valuable. Right after class the kids had recess and one of the boys was really mean. The others kids looked at him like ‘Really? We just talked about this.’ He was very embarrassed by his own behavior. Now that's positive peer pressure. We also talked about trying new things and taking risks and not letting fear of failing stop us from trying new things. I teach 4-6 grade chorus. I have NEVER had so many kids try a short solo. They sang in front of about 75 kids. Wow! That is risk taking. I could go on and on. The program really is about giving kids a 'home' within their school that feels safe and loving. At least that's what our drum circles feel like to me. Thanks for training me and giving me this amazing experience as a teacher.” — Jana Gruss, Music Teacher, Newhall School District, CA

“We have been having problems with [a boy] in my class. On Tuesday he attacked two students in my class, and threw objects in the classroom because I would not print something from a website he had visited. He had not been given permission to be on the computer, but remained there despite being told five times to get off it. He was still carrying a grudge about this at breakfast on Wednesday morning, when he refused to sit with the rest of the class at breakfast, muttering that he wanted his printout. He sat there scowling for 15 minutes. After breakfast we moved into the multi purpose room for drumming, and he followed us. Within five minutes of starting the drumming class, his whole face and manner changed. He started smiling, joined in the drumming with enthusiasm, and later volunteered to lead the drumming. I think the drumming is very therapeutic for students with emotional problems like him.” —Jenny Owens, Upper Elementary Special Education Teacher, Quincy Jones Elementary School, LAUSD

"I tried the first lesson with a focus group of 5th grade students today, and already saw positive feedback from them. When I asked one student how he felt at the end, he said. "Good". I asked him to tell me more about that and he said, "I didn't leave the class." (He walks out or has to be escorted out of my room every week . . . if he even makes it to class at all from prior disturbances.) I even teared up a little! And that was just the first day, and me having no idea what I was doing! This program is truly inspired. Thank you so much!” — Melissa Fabbi, K-12 Music Specialist from Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV

BTO Facilitator Training Testimonials:

“Life changing and incredible!!” — BTO Trainee

“Thank you so much for the fantastic workshop . . . the training was so well organized and flowed so well. One of the best I've ever been to, academically or otherwise. — Melissa Fabbi, K-12 Music Specialist From Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV

“I enjoyed being integrated into the training so that I left with a sense of practice. I also liked the free spirit that was modeled and encouraged.” — BTO Trainee

“It was fantastic! Great pace with lots of information that was heartfelt and helpful. Thank you for the work that you do!” — BTO Trainee

Click here to read the complete list of testimonials for the Beat the Odds® program and facilitator trainings.
PingHo-Headshot-Portrait-LoResPing Ho, MA, MPH, is Founder and Director of UCLArts & Healing, an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, of which Ping is a steering committee member and was founding administrator. She was also founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, 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. She has a BA in psychology with honors from Stanford—where she was appointed to spearhead the still-thriving Health Improvement Program for faculty and staff, 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 a member of the council of advisers for the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health and associate editor for the Creative Arts Therapies section of the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She developed the Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts (SEA) and the Medical SEA Program for any population, setting or budget. In addition, she co-developed and served as principal investigator for the evidence-based program, Beat the Odds®: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming. She is co-author, with Erica Curtis, of The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art (Ohio University/Swallow Press, March 2019).

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_headshotMike 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, 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. In 2017, the RMC moved to the REMO headquarters located in Valencia CA. With the blessing of Ami Belli, a brand new state-of-the-art Remo Music Center was built on the factory premises. Along with Ami Belli and REMO Inc., Mike continues the mission of the late Remo Belli, creating joy and improving the human condition through drumming. Mike considers drumming to be his life raft—where drums have kept him afloat throughout his life, during the good and the bad times. Mike finds himself to be so fortunate to be in the company of Ping Ho and Giselle Friedman, helping to create such a wonderful program like Beat The Odds®. Mike maintains his passion for the drum set as well as helping others to experience playing music for personal joy.
This course meets qualifications for 3.5 hours of continuing education (CE) credit for psychologists, LCSWs, MFTs, LEPs, LPCCs, and RNs. CEs can be requested during the registration process for an additional $25.

UCLArts & Healing is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. UCLArts & Healing maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Those who attend this workshop in full and complete the appropriate evaluation form will receive CE credits. Please note that credit will only be granted to those who attend the entire workshop. Those arriving more than 15 minutes after the start time or leaving before the workshop is completed will not receive CE credit.

learning objectives for ces:

  1. Explain 3 ways that rhythmic activities can be useful in healing trauma.

  2. Describe at least 2 nonverbal ways to facilitate empathy and connection among diverse participants in culture and/or ability.

  3. Name at least 2 strategies that can be used to facilitate participation amongst children who are shy or reluctant to share verbally or play the drum.

  4. Describe at least 2 ways that rhythmic activities can be used to facilitate reflection and self-disclosure in community groups.

  5. List at least 3 overall strategies in adapting the curriculum for older children.

  6. List at least five behavior problems that may decrease in underserved children as a result of this program.

  7. FOR NURSES ONLY: Participants will be able to state at least two ways in which rhythm would be useful in the practice of nursing.


  • Prior to the training, please view the ten minute clip from a documentary film of our work with Beat the Odds. Click here to view the trailer.

  • Since this is an online program, trainees will need to provide their own drum equipment. Alternatives to drums are acceptable, and examples include: pillows on top of a desk, 2- or 5-gallon plastic wattle bottles, large round food storage containers, paint buckets with mallets, etc. Click here to view some additional product alternatives (Note: Instructions for obtaining discount pricing on these products will be made available to our trainees).

Please submit questions via email to or telephone us at (310) 452-1439.
In order to keep our programs affordable yet self-sustaining, we regret that we are unable to offer refunds for cancellation; however, we are happy to provide you with credit good for one year from the date of the program toward the next offering of the same program or a different one. Credit applied toward a program with higher registration fees will require payment of the balance. In addition, credit may be applied toward purchase of curriculum materials for any program. Unused fees after one year would then be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law because no goods or services would have been received for them.