Why, Why, Why?
They’re loud, expensive, take up a lot of space and require a small road crew to lug them around. Then one day they’ll grow up, leave home and realize how great life was when they were young.
So are we talking about drum kits or children here? Well, both. There are many similarities between the two and perhaps that explains the inevitable attraction.
Like moths to the proverbial flame, children are drawn to the drums. Their glossy outer shell, shiny metallic parts and noise making capabilities are almost irresistible to children (and some adults). I’m not sure of the science behind this but from first hand experience as a teacher, parent and human being, I am very confident that this is a legitimate phenomenon.
What to do?
So what do you do when your child tells you that they want to learn the drums?
Here are some options
A) Shrug it off and pretend like the conversation never happened
B) Keep saying maybe until they give up asking
C) Give them a stick and cooking pot and send them far away
D) Go and buy the first drum kit you see on eBay
E) Say no.
Really, it’s either a yes or no answer but there are some important factors to consider before making a decision.
The Novelty Factor
There is a difference between wanting to learn how to play the drums and wanting to play the drums. Some kids just want to hit things and make a lot of noise. Others want to hit things and make a lot of noise for a living. So how can you tell if your child is serious or not?
Here are some ways to gauge your child’s interest without wasting money on a drum kit or lessons.
1. Use your parental instinct – Ask why. Make them plead a little. If they’re genuinely interested then they will persist with asking.
2. Borrow a drum kit – Drum kits often share the same fate as exercise equipment. They seem attractive to buy at first and then end up being used to hang laundry. So don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a drum kit when you might be able to borrow one off a friend. Alternately, you may be able to find a person or place that will allow you use their drum kit for half an hour each week. Schools, churches, and concert bands may be willing to offer this opportunity (if you ask really nicely).
3. Buy some drumsticks – You can get drumsticks for around $10 a pair. Give these to your child along with some old cushions and tell them to practice 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks. If they can do even half of that then they are somewhat serious.
How Young is Too Young?
There are certain music activities that children can do at any age but I won’t discuss that now. As a general rule of thumb, children under the age of 8 will struggle to learn an instrument due to some limitations in fine motor skills and shorter attention spans. There are exceptions to this however, most often seen in environments and cultures where children are frequently exposed to instrumental practice and performance.
Location, Location, Location
If you live in a 2-bedroom shanty with 4 children and your grandma then you may need to consider alternatives. One alternative is to make do with what you’ve got. With a little creativity and a lot of motivation, you can turn almost anything into a drum kit. Check out Stomp to see what I mean.
If noise is an issue then you can purchase practice pads, silencers or an electronic kit. These options can be quite costly however.
I think they’re serious… Now what?
If your child is genuinely interested in learning the drums then you may want to consider buying a drum kit and organise drum lessons. I won’t give you those details now as there is a lot that can be said.
But what I can give you is some FREE Drum Lesson Material!!
This material is a compilation of several years worth of lesson material that I have created. Please use this for yourself or with a drum teacher. All I ask is that you adhere to copyright laws and give credit where due.
Click here for advice and ideas on using this material
Click to Download
This article was originally published on a blog for Melody Shakers
Author: David Thurlow
Fun Stuff for Kids (The Blog) is all about providing parents, teachers and child carers with helpful hints, educational articles and fun ideas that children will love.
David Thurlow is an educator, entertainer, musician, husband, father and casual blogger