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  #1  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:25 PM
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Chromium Chromium is offline
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Default What to teach a five year old?

Despite my misgivings I've agreed to give a lesson or two to a friend's five year old child, just to get him started. He's got a small kit for Christmas and is apparently keen to have a go...

Whilst in the past I've given some training to engineers on computers, I've never tutored anyone on drums or percussion, especially not a young child.

I have an idea of where I would start with a teenager or adult. But what do I teach a five year old? I've no idea how much they can take in during one lesson, and how much they will pay attention etc.

I would appreciate your ideas where I would start especially if you have experience of teaching a young child.

I'm thinking, stuff like...
  • parts of the drum kit and what they are used for
  • clapping exercises in 4/4 time
  • Perhaps start by using a cowbell/tambourine before getting onto the snare
  • then very simple beats

Am I way off?
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:40 PM
BILLYHART BILLYHART is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromium View Post
Despite my misgivings I've agreed to give a lesson or two to a friend's five year old child, just to get him started. He's got a small kit for Christmas and is apparently keen to have a go...

Whilst in the past I've given some training to engineers on computers, I've never tutored anyone on drums or percussion, especially not a young child.

I have an idea of where I would start with a teenager or adult. But what do I teach a five year old? I've no idea how much they can take in during one lesson, and how much they will pay attention etc.

I would appreciate your ideas where I would start especially if you have experience of teaching a young child.

I'm thinking, stuff like...
  • parts of the drum kit and what they are used for
  • clapping exercises in 4/4 time
  • Perhaps start by using a cowbell/tambourine before getting onto the snare
  • then very simple beats

Am I way off?
You may be way off or right on ...It all depends on your methods...5 year olds like to have fun when they discover something new....so it has to be fun until they get bored...One or two lessons to a five year old to get them started...will result in probably nothing
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:57 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromium View Post
  • parts of the drum kit and what they are used for
  • clapping exercises in 4/4 time
  • Perhaps start by using a cowbell/tambourine before getting onto the snare
  • then very simple beats

Am I way off?
you are not way off at all

I get a lot of results when making everything a game

kids love competition and love to win

I usually draw a score card on a dry erase board and draw a funny picture of me and a funny picture of them to keep the score under

you will be surprised what some of these kids can do and will do when they know they can win a sticker, or a silly eraser or something....I always keep little trinkets from the dollar store for them to win

and they soak up information very easily .....when you can keep their focus that is....this is why the game is so important

attention spans at that age are not long at all .....so the trick is to have them learning when they don't realize they are learning

also...with some who are not shy....we dance....it is a fantastic way to learn to understand rhythm....but some are way too shy and the game route really opens them up

it is important to earn a childs trust

another piece of advice.... abandon the metronome and use music

and parents love this stuff.......they are who is paying so that is paramount

I literally have kids run into the lesson room like they cannot wait to get there

Last edited by Anthony Amodeo; 01-13-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2013, 07:05 PM
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mmulcahy1 mmulcahy1 is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Potty training? ;-) ;-)
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2013, 07:24 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Teach them that the music business is a cruel and shallow double-bass pit, a long plastic hallway where pimps and Travis Barkers run free; and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side.

Of secondary importance, teach them that they should stick knives in their enemies.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:29 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2013, 07:36 PM
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caddywumpus caddywumpus is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

The thing I did to get my 5 year old engaged was playing "repeat after me." This works if you have your set and his set set up side-by-side.

Don't think of it as a lesson where you are intellectually stimulating the child, teaching them a vital skill, or are setting them up for a successful head start on drums. Just have fun. The best you can hope for is that the child will want to imitate what happened in the lesson after you leave. To them, it's all play, and that's how they best learn.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:32 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Get that kid a glove and throw a ball outside ;)
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:39 PM
Michdrums Michdrums is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Hi Chromium,
I would start with a basic rock beat.... this is what I usually do with anyone on their first lesson.
I usually demonstrate it with a basic 16th fill around the kit and say " you'll be playing this in half an hour"... They usually look at me in complete disbelief!
It would take a year to get a half decent sound out of a violin but with drums you can get something like this very quickly and is very satisfying.

Good luck....
Michele :)
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:50 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Whatever you do...make it fun and rewarding.I've taught children of cub scout age for years,and at times,it's like getting cats to march in a parade.

Keep the lessons brief.Their attention span is brief,and boredom threshold low,so forget the technical stuff.Just get him to try to pay his favorite music,and hold the sticks as best you can.

Some 5 year olds are just all over the place,and some are very intuitive.

No sweets before a lesson,and only after you're done teaching.Don't forget little rewards,like a "best 5 year old drum beat award". Just a simple thing you can make up on the computer,but something he'll cherish and hang on his wall.

Best of luck...crack on and cheers.:)

Steve B

Last edited by tamadrm; 01-13-2013 at 11:14 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:50 PM
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NerfLad NerfLad is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gvdadrummasum View Post
you are not way off at all

I get a lot of results when making everything a game

kids love competition and love to win

I usually draw a score card on a dry erase board and draw a funny picture of me and a funny picture of them to keep the score under

you will be surprised what some of these kids can do and will do when they know they can win a sticker, or a silly eraser or something....I always keep little trinkets from the dollar store for them to win

and they soak up information very easily .....when you can keep their focus that is....this is why the game is so important

attention spans at that age are not long at all .....so the trick is to have them learning when they don't realize they are learning

also...with some who are not shy....we dance....it is a fantastic way to learn to understand rhythm....but some are way too shy and the game route really opens them up

it is important to earn a childs trust

another piece of advice.... abandon the metronome and use music

and parents love this stuff.......they are who is paying so that is paramount

I literally have kids run into the lesson room like they cannot wait to get there
I found this post really inspiring and heartwarming, man. :)
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2013, 02:46 AM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

I dont teach and am somewhat of a beginner but I have an 8 and 5 year old who play and I occasionally push a little here and there with my 5 yr old. All advice above is great. Games, keeping it fun, avoid too much structure like the met etc. I have found to be true.

The one thing I would add, and I read it here (you might search this site as there have been a number of threads on taching kids) is to not push them too hard. You have to be able to allow them, to some extent, to have short attention spans and move on when they seem to need to so I would aim to have a few games or exercises in mind. If you are making them do everything then they will not like it and might just need to wait a little before lessons. 5 can be too soon IMO- depends on the kid.

My older child is similar but can read music, bury the click if he wants etc. but hates to work with it or the pad (somewhat of a natural on the kit). WIth him, we (teacher and I) developed the "10 minutes of torture" where he plays the pad to the met and works from a book like stick control or syncopation. This may be a controversial move to some but we call it that jokingly and he realizes the importance of the pad/met so it works for him. The best part is that it is for a finite amount of time every lesson so even though its not pleasant for him, he does it because he knows when the end will be.

I also think its important that the parents understand that there may be sections of the lesson that might not be drum related. Kids really have short attention spans (fishtank in my drum teachers room was a big topic).

Keep it fun.
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2013, 02:48 AM
12x7 12x7 is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Monkey See Monkey do.
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2013, 01:00 PM
Thud Thud is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

I learnt with a tambourine. It's easy for kids to whack it in time with the beat of tunes they already know. That gets them into rhythmic form and structure. Once they have the hang of timing and all that you can move on. That's how I learnt anyway.
We also had a big chart on the wall with a stave and basic notation. We soon got the idea of counting and playing in turn. That's how I got hooked as a dyed-in-the-wool rhythm freak.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:19 AM
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oldrockdrummer oldrockdrummer is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

some words of wisdom
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:27 AM
mxo721 mxo721 is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

1....3......2.....4!
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  #16  
Old 01-16-2013, 01:34 PM
rdb rdb is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

My 5-year-old is in the music room playing on his kit right now. He has two older brothers who play guitar and keyboard, and the little guy has identified himself as the drummer in the family ever since he could speak. He just got his first kit for Christmas (posted a picture in a different thread).

Anyways, since I've known for years that he was going to start drums, I've been paying attention to threads like these, and I'm doing with him what I've learned from these threads. So mostly, as many others have said, I do games with him. Fortunately, my kit is set up in the same room, facing his. (Caveat, I'm a beginner myself.)

One of the first things we did was a monkey-see, just to learn the components of the kit. I would hit a drum or cymbal, say what it is, then have him repeat. Then I would do it without saying what it is. Then I had him do it with his eyes closed. So now, he can recognize the different drums and cymbals just by their sounds. (And then he wanted to reverse the game and have me repeat after him with my eyes closed; it was harder than I had expected ;-)

What we do now is monkey-see with very simple sequences.

The other thing that happened is that his brothers taught him how to play the basic 8th-note rock groove. His brothers are old enough that they just picked it up from seeing me, and then they taught the little guy. Of course, it's uneven and uncontrolled, but it's a great start. He does it on the ride cymbal, and now I'm trying to show him how to do it on the hi-hat.

Anyways, we're having a lot of fun with it. I have no particular expectations, just that he stay with it. At this age, I only expect him to play a few minutes each day. I'm not sure when I'll start actual lessons with him, maybe in a year or two, and then I'll expect real practice each day (just like I do with his older brothers).
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2013, 04:15 AM
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CreeplyTuna CreeplyTuna is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldrockdrummer View Post
some words of wisdom
Man, I wish the girls in my area heard some of this wisdom.
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2013, 12:32 PM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

It has been said in other threads that there can be an age that is too early for some- I know its too early for my daughter (even though she has asked to go to lessons) so we are going to wait a couple years.

You might test this kid out and see how it goes. Sounds like it would be a huge let down since the parents already got him a kit but you dont want to start out wrong..
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  #19  
Old 01-18-2013, 07:57 PM
throughthecities throughthecities is offline
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Default Re: What to teach a five year old?

I have to agree with most of the suggestions already given. It's very dependent on the kid's desire, though.

I had my old chiropractor ask me to teach his 9 yo how to play. After a few times over there, it was very apparent that his 5 yo wanted to play as well. The older one lost a bit of interest; I think she was scared of me after awhile. We got her to do the basic rock beat and a basic fill, by first doing the hi-hat only, then added the bass and later the snare. but then she became too shy around me and wanted to play dolls or something with her friends while I was there.

His five year old boy was doing all parts to the basic beat by the end of the first hour with me. Sure, it was sloppy, but he grasped it quicker than I would have expected. After that first hour, the "doc" made sure to point out to me that his boy was autistic.. I kind of just shrugged and told him I never would've noticed anything was wrong with him. He was more concerned about it than I was. He was focused and determined, and lasted through ten more lessons with me until I had to go off to college. To me, he had no problem whatsoever, and was much more into learning it than his older sister.

So it's very different for any kid, regardless of age.
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