No matter how old your child is, if they tell you they want to take beginner drum lessons there are two simple tests for you to conduct before spending hundreds of dollars on a drum set for them. One test is for you. The other is for your want-to-be-drummer. If your child doesn’t have a little bit of innate rhythm they will be very frustrated with beginner drum lessons and may give up on music all together. Conversely, just a little bit of rhythm will get them started with what could become a lifelong hobby – or even a career.
So let’s see how you, as the parent, do on your test before even discussing the child’s test. Step One For You: Get in your car, turn your radio on, tune it to your local rock music station, and turn the bass to its fullest setting and turn it up until the car begins to vibrate. If this doesn’t bother you, you will be a good drummer’s parent. If this bothers you, there is one other option you have in order to not go crazy and that is to buy a portable sound booth. If that’s not an option then you must steer your child away from beginner drum lessons or you’ll be arguing about when he can practice, where he can practice and your nerves will be on edge.
If you passed Step One, let’s move on to Step Two: Answer this question honestly. Do you have enough room in your home to accommodate the drum set, a guitar amp, a bass amp and at least three people?
If you said “yes” to Step Two, let’s move on to Step Three. Would you be willing to have a band come and practice at your house every week? Would you be willing to have a band practice at your house several times a week? If you have a child who is only 8 or 9 years old you may not think this would be a big deal. But remember, if your child stays with the drum lessons, he or she will become a 14 year old, then a 15 year old and the band members will also be teenagers. Band rehearsal is always at the drummer’s house because the drum set is too cumbersome to haul. The guitarist and bass player only have their guitars, amps and perhaps a couple of pedals. (That’s why we covered Steps Two and Three.)
Did you pass Step Three? Let’s move on to the final step, Step Four. Is your house one of those homes where every kids helps themselves to the sodas in the fridge or the snacks in the cupboard or do you expect your children’s friends to wait until they are offered a refreshment? This isn’t like baseball where the moms take turns bringing snacks. The other band moms don’t even know their kids are helping themselves at your house. But your child is most likely telling the others it’s OK.
If you’re still onboard, then you’re the perfect drummer’s mom or dad.
Now let’s see if Junior has the very basic rhythm needed to get started with beginner drum lessons. The drums are the most difficult instrument to learn. Unlike guitar or keyboard or a wind instrument, drums require the ability to simultaneously do something different with each hand and each foot. This is what causes beginner drum lessons to be incredibly frustrating to some kids.
Remember when we were kids and we tried to rub our head with one hand and pat our stomach with the other? That’s how you’re going to test your child to see if beginner drums lessons are a worth exploring. Have your child sit on a chair with her feet on the floor and rub her head with her left hand and pat her stomach with her right hand. While doing that count out loud, “1 -2 -3 – 4, 1 -2 -3 – 4″ at varying tempos and ask her to tap her left foot on the odd numbers and right foot on the even numbers. Partway through ask her to switch her feet to tapping the left on “1 – 2″ and the right on “3-4.” Then, while continuing to tap her feet, have her switch her hands so the left hand is patting her stomach and her right hand is rubbing her head without missing a beat. Finally go back to switching feet to the left tapping on odd numbers and the right tapping on even numbers andchange the hand motions so that the left hand is now rubbing her stomach and the right hand is now patting her head.
How’d she do? If this was very difficult, forget beginner drum lessons and suggest she play a bass or keyboards. If she laughed at how easy this was, head straight to the music store and get a starter drum kit and sign her up for those beginner drum lessons.