As a percussionist, Warren Hyer has been playing drums nearly his entire adult life.

As a percussionist, Warren Hyer has been playing drums nearly his entire adult life.

But up until recently, the executive director of the Central Ohio Symphony had never participated in a drumming circle. It was after that experience at a national percussionist convention that he said he immediately saw the educational options associated with drumming.

Hyer applied for a grant to establish a therapeutic drumming program. On Monday, Jan. 28, the Central Ohio Symphony announced it had been awarded the $16,000 grant to establish the program with the Delaware County Juvenile Court and Maryhaven, a mental health and recovery services provider in central Ohio.

The grant money will be used to purchase equipment and train staff in therapeutic drumming techniques through the Remo HealthRHYTHMS program.

"It's part of our effort of taking the symphony and using our resources outside the concert hall," Hyer said. "Instead of just doing concerts, it's a way of bringing the community and symphony together."

Delaware County Juvenile Court Magistrate John Eufinger said the drumming program will be incorporated into the court's specialized docket for juvenile offenders with mental illness and-or substance abuse disorders. It would be an alternative treatment option provided through Maryhaven.

"I think anything that may work is worth a try," Eufinger said. "Most people look at courts as that is where you go to get punishment, and we foster the idea that treatment court is not a punishment -- it is a help, a lifeline."

Hyer and two others currently are learning the techniques. Hyer said he hopes to see the program officially begin before the end of February.

He said it is a year-long program and once it is completed, it will be evaluated. He added there is an opportunity to repeat the grant a second year.