“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.”
A lot of children choose to start learning a musical instrument when they’re in primary school. Becoming a drummer takes work and regular practice. A child who wants to learn how to play the drums (and their parents) should be aware of this.
There are a lot of benefits to learning to play the drums as long as you learn them in the right way.
So when should a child start learning to play the drums? Which drums should they choose? Do they need to take children’s drum classes?
In this article, we’re going to have a look at the answers to these very questions.
What is it that Attracts Kids to Drumming?
Often, kids are more exposed to instruments like pianos, keyboards and guitars (probably because toy manufacturers know that parents want gentler sounds coming from their children's toys!) - but if you look around for kids' drums you can find some decent sets. John Lewis, for example, have a few drum kits for younger players at a reasonable price.
One of the main attractions of drumming has to be the fun factor. While us adults know that drumming takes as much skill as any other instrument, to kids it is ok for them to simply enjoy banging sticks against something and making a noise. In fact, it's a really important part of sensory learning and whether or not it seems that way, children are already beginning to take in rhythm and noise level, even if they don't fully understand it yet.
What's more, as they get older and better, you will soon notice that they love the focus and energy it requires of them. It may also become evident that drumming helps them to relieve stress and has a positive effect on their mental health or anxiety.
Drumming, for many kids, is like an escape.
Is There an Ideal Age to Start Learning to Play Drums?
Hitting objects and making a noise is one of the first things children learn when they start understanding music. There’s no need to show them how, they'll work it out for themselves.
However, that doesn’t mean they really understand the skill behind it. By the age of two or three years old, when they start hitting their toy car with a rattle, they’re probably ready to start drumming lessons.
In fact, even children in the womb are sensitive to music beat and rhythm. Thus, to get your child interested in music, you’re going to have to get them listening to various types of music.
Between the ages of 3 and 7, they can study music in a music school or at home. With nursery rhymes, lullabies, concerts for children, etc., there are plenty of different ways to get your child into music. Drumming is great for children but the drums aren’t always the easiest instrument to play.
Before the age of 5, they’ll struggle to coordinate their limbs, a skill which is essential for many musical instruments, not just the drums. Furthermore, children don’t tend to get motivated about music before the age of 7. Before this age, it’s very likely that they’ll jump from hobby to hobby, which is perfectly normal.
To learn to play drums, you need to start with drum rudiments. It’s best to wait until a child is 7 before doing this because they need both a physical and mental maturity in order to follow music lessons in a drum school.
In fact, whether it’s the tambourine, maracas, xylophone, you don’t need to be a certain size like with certain other instruments, you just need to be able to reach the pedals and the drums!
Around the age of 7 and 8 is when children tend to develop the necessary attention span to practise playing a musical instrument. Additionally, the role the parents play is also hugely important. At 7 years of age, children need to be accompanied when they learn. The parents need to be there to encourage them to practise on a daily basis.
Thus, the act will become part of the child’s daily routine and you’ll start to see progress being made. Encourage them and remind them that you support them, are proud of their progress, and impressed by the effort they put in.
Why Should Children Learn the Drums?
It’s no secret, music comes with a lot of benefits. You can listen to music, dance along to music, play music, and even use music for therapy.
So what’s in it for the child?
Firstly, let’s start with coordination. To play the drums, you need to keep time on the hi-hat with your right hand, use your left hand for the snare, add in the cymbals from time to time, and also play the bass drum and toms, too. It’s definitely the best instrument for learning to use your limbs independently.
Does doing all this at the same time seem complicated?
That’s why it’s better to start young!
The child will learn how to concentrate, which will be useful for them throughout their entire life. When they start playing the drums, they’ll also gain discipline. To learn a song and master certain drumbeats, they’ll have to play them several times.
Does your child have a lot of energy?
The drums will allow them to channel this energy into a productive task. They’ll be calmer and learn to control their emotions better as they work with a private drum tutor.
Do you want to guide your child onto a good path with positive hobbies?
In group classes, a child can learn social skills and make friends with a shared interest in music. They might even put a band together!
Does your child suffer with mental health problems?
Far from what some people think, drums don't encourage aggression.
If anything, playing the drums can help mitigate behavioural problems and reduce anxiety, depression and aggression. Regular practice is said to improve mental stability in kids.
"Within mental health settings, drumming has proven effective as a tool for psychosocial rehabilitation of psychiatric inpatients (Tague, 2012), in burnout reduction for staff (Newman, Maggott, & Alexander, 2015), and in alleviation of depression and anxiety while enhancing well-being and social resilience" - US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
Which Drums Should Children Play?
At the age of 7, a child won’t have fully grown yet.
A drum set is a pretty big instrument and they need to be modified slightly for children to play them. Even if your child is a virtuoso, they might be too small for certain drum kits. A few adjustments may not be enough.
They also run the risk of hurting themselves if they’re not sitting in the right position. Drum kits are rarely suitable for children under 7. Younger children will have to make do with toy drums.
This is fine since most children won’t be able to coordinate their limbs or remember drum beats before they reach the age of 7. However, even at this age, they won’t be big enough for adult drum kits.
You need to pay attention when you’re in the drum shop to ensure you choose the right tom-toms, cymbals, and drum kit:
- Choose a drum kit that can be adjusted and added to.
- The drum throne needs to be able to descend.
- The hi-hat stand needs to be adjustable.
- The bass drum shouldn’t be bigger than 20” (18” is ideal)
- The cymbal stands also need to be adjustable.
The size of the bass drum will determine where the toms sit; an important consideration when choosing a child’s drum kit. A fusion or jazzette kit will be better than a rock kit, which can have a 22” bass drum.
I recommend having a look at the second-hand market to find a good drum kit for less. Thus, you won’t have invested too much money if your child decides to give up after just a few lessons. There are plenty of second-hand websites like eBay, Craigslist, and Gumtree.
Drum Lessons for Children
A child won’t be able to teach themselves to learn the drums. They need to be guided and encouraged in order to improve their skills and progress.
Thus, they’ll need drum lessons. There are a number of different options.
Playing drums with a private drum tutor
A private tutor will know, from the very first drum lessons, exactly how to help your child to improve their drumming by working with their strengths and weaknesses. They’ll come to your house, saving you precious time! However, the child is alone. They won’t be able to share their experience with other musicians whether they’re learning drums, guitar, bass, or piano.
Where can you find a private tutor?
For private drum lessons, Superprof is the place to go! See more below.
Learning drums in a conservative
While the drums aren’t the most popular instrument learnt by students at conservatoires, children can learn how to play classical drums or jazz drums in these prestigious music schools. By the age of 6 or 7, the child will have chosen their instrument and will be well into their studies after a few years. They can improve and go through their grades.
What are the benefits of learning at a conservatoire?
Training takes place over several years and, if they work hard, the child will be granted a recognised music qualification at the end of their studies.
Attending a conservatoire will also help the individual to get involved with the music scene in the town where they're at. Conservatoire courses will teach everything your son or daughter needs to know in order to perfect their technique and broaden their understanding of music.
Joining a music school
A music school can sometimes cost quite a bit. However, the teaching is more flexible. Your child can meet other musicians and share their experience with other children and experienced musicians. It’s also the perfect place to practise without annoying everyone in the house and the neighbours!
Where are some of the best drum schools in the UK?
The London Music School and The Institute of Music Performance both offer a wide range of courses for those serious about making drumming their future career.
Meanwhile, ICMP offers more of full-time education and boasts incredible installations and studios.
The Mauder's School of Popular Music, based in Manchester, was founded in 2008 by musician and teacher Neil Maunder as a response to a lack of local music school projects in the Manchester Area.
It began as a nomadic school, using different community centres every night and later moved to its location in Manchester City.
With more than 250 students and even more people attending the school's workshops, MSPM became a real musical community where everyone is welcome to come and learn.
The school offers drums lessons every day of the week and gives Rockschool grades from 1 to 8, with a 100% success rate.
Drum Lessons with Superprof
For private lessons, you can expect to pay between £15 and £30 per hour, several hundred pounds for a year at a conservatoire or a music school. If you're sold on getting your child private drum tutorials, then you should have a look at some of the private tutors available on Superprof. You can search by musical instrument and by location.
If you can't find any tutors near you, don't forget that there are also online private tutors who can teach your child over webcam. While this can be quite difficult for drums, with an electronic drum kit, you'll be surprised what's possible online. In fact, nowadays, almost any skill can be taught over webcam.
Drums are the perfect instrument to unwind, have fun, learn more about music, improve your memory, and gain discipline.
Is your child ready to start learning how to play this demanding and fascinating instrument?