Try Publishing recently released my new method book, Drumset for Preschoolers: A Guide for Parents/Teachers of 2-6 Year-Olds designed to provide young children with a fun and valuable drumming experience. Because the book uses a novel approach and fills an unexplored niche, the intended audience is only slowly warming up to the idea. In addition, the idea of teaching drums to young children is fraught with misconceptions. Hopefully, the following list will encourage drum teachers to open up lesson spots for this eager and relatively untapped group of students and entice parents to sign them up.
1. It just too hard to communicate effectively with extremely young students during the course of a lesson.
The key is to find a common language. Most children as young as 2 years old know their colors. Because of this and the fact that the Rock Band video game enterprise (and their drum controller) unintentionally standardized color-coded drumset notation, youngsters will immediately respond to the following notation system.
2. Children under the age of 7 are not developmentally ready to learn the drums.
I do partly agree with this sentiment. At the age of 7, most youngsters can read fairly well, do simple math, and handle some abstractions. With few exceptions, they can handle the rigors of typically taught drum lessons.
However, Iʼve experienced firsthand that children as young as 2 years old can be taught using the drumkit (and the mimi-drumset) as a tool. Itʼs the subject matter that lays the groundwork for this. Drumset for Preschoolers helps teach early childhood, general music, and some basic drumming skills and concepts: the alphabet, soft to loud, playing in time, and many more. In other words, itʼs not a watered down book of rock beats and fills (not that thereʼs anything wrong with that), but it actually targets the needs of young children, who will hopefully be interested in future musical endeavors.
Here is an example from the book which teaches the concepts of high to low, sticking, the parts of the drumkit, simple coordination, spacing, repeating a pattern, etc...
3. Why emphasize teaching drums to young kids? The last thing young parents want in their household is a loud instrument. Theyʼll never go for it.
If you search YouTube and type in “young drummer,” youʼll observe that many parents are going for it already. Of course, many of these children are phenoms and not your typical young person. However, itʼs obvious that there is lot of general enthusiasm by parents for getting their child behind a drumkit.
Noise level can be a major deterrent for parents who want to provide drum lessons for their kids. Check out my article here at the Drummer Cafe entitled DIY: Homemade Mute Pads, which solves that issue for parents, while not breaking the bank.
4. Children under the age of 7 have too short of an attention span to learn the drums.
Drum teachers will need to be flexible in their approach. For the most part, children 2 to 6 years old need to be taught in short digestible segments, which move quickly from one to the next. A 30-minute lesson might have to be broken up into 5-10 parts. As the student gets acclimated to the lesson environment, their attention span often gradually increases.
Drumset for Preschoolers comes packed full of these short activities.
5. Youngsters donʼt have the fine motor skills to play the drums with proper technique.
I find that young drummers often catch on more quickly to this than older students, especially with hand technique. In general, they are a group of very coachable students who can easily learn to play the drums in a relaxed, efficient manner.
6. Drums are not the optimal instrument for young kids. Instruments such as the piano and violin are the way to go.
Nothing against piano and violin, but I feel that the drumset (along with the human voice) is the optimal starter instrument for young kids. They can immediately get a sound, learn simple patterns and beats, and gain coordition in very little time. A positive start will catapult them to future drumming or success with another instrument.
Here is portion of another page from Drumset for Preschoolers, showing how I combine singing (and approximate melody) with learning to move around the kit (and a little bit of humor).
7. The drumset is too big for a young child. They wonʼt be able to reach the different parts of the kit.
I speak to this at length in the book. In general, the drumset is not too large for a young person. Many drumkits on the market, such as the Ludwig Junior Outfit, are designed especially for this purpose.
8. You canʼt possibly create a book that works with such a wide set of ages and learning levels.
I went ahead and did it anyway. Content in the book is grouped in 3 levels of difficulty, similar to the way that most video games are structured.
9. Young kids this young never stick with anything for more than a few days.
This is one of the main reasons that I wrote the book. It pained me to imagine mini-drumkits thrown into dumpsters or collecting dust in closets. Drumset for Preschoolers will hopefully provide an extended chance for the young child to learn and have fun doing it.
10. Itʼs stressful to teach children that age.
As a handyman once told me, “You have to have the right tool.” Before I wrote this book, I wasnʼt always comfortable teaching extremely young children. Now, I look forward to it!