Question for fellow Drum Teachers

vyacheslav

Senior Member
Hello,

I have recently started to build a decent sized teaching practice through a local music store. I am comfortable teaching all styles but I am mostly teaching beginners for now.

My students seem to keep getting younger and younger. My question to my fellow teachers is:

How young is too young?

I know that is a question without a concrete answer, but I currently have two 8 year olds, a 7 year old and someone at the store just signed up a 5 year old, whom I had my first lesson with this evening.

The 5 year old doesn't read-music or even basic words-yet. He can count to 10, and barely knows his left from his right. Is he too young? I am not really sure what I can teach him with his cognitive level right now. I usually start beginning students with the Alfred Snare Drum or Alfred Drumset Beginning Methods. I think even that is way over his head at this point.

Does anyone here have any tips or advice on teaching beginning, young (7 and under) students? I have no trouble teaching beginners, but that's assuming they can understand beats, measures, quarter notes, basic rudiments etc. and can read about them and comprehend the concepts.

Thanks for your help,

V
 

Zickos

Gold Member
I personally think the 5 year old is a little young. The only thing you can do is teach him by rote and make it a game kind of like Simon Says.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
some students are just too young

but some young students are very bright and actually do well

you have to evaluate on an individual basis

I have found that young kids respond extremely well to learning the basics of reading....this helps so much to build lines of musical communication between you and the student

also I have found that children are very competitive and if you make a game out of things....anything....sticking patterns, learning quarter notes or 8th notes, ...anything....and use a point system where there is a possibility of them winning the game (of course I always let them)....they will respond

I have a big dry erase board and i divide it into 2 sides....I draw a funny picture of me on one side and one of them on the other and keep score under the drawings......they love it

they learn all kinds of things and have no idea they are learning

we learn songs and I play guitar along with them....simple little tunes

they love it....I tell them they have to name our band as an assignment .......and the parents think Im the best thing since sliced bread

when really im just some broke ass musician
 

SticksEasy

Senior Member
I think it depends on the kid. Some kids at five years old may want to learn drums, they may have that passion and motivation. But then you also have the five year old kid who's father played drums, and is paying for him to learn drums. Now, if a five year old kid is not willing to learn, then he's not going to learn.

If my daughter takes an interest in learning drums, no matter how young, I'm gonna do what I can to teach her and keep her interested. But ultimately it's entirely up to her if she wants to learn. I can go over things as simple as possible, and it's just gonna be punishment to her unless she sees it as useful.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
That seems a little extreme. I would probably decline to teach someone that young, or maybe give a lesson or two to see if I have anything to teach them. They should probably be with someone who is trained for working with very young children.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It depends on a few things.

I don't mind giving an 8 yo private lessons, but in the public music schools I taught at most of them have a minimum age for drums at 9 or 10 and there's a good reason for that.
 

David Floegel

Silver Member
I started drumming at the age of 5 - wasn't a problem..
Actually my teacher said that he doesn't take students at this age but after the first lesson he told my parents that he'll work with me..

Does your student has motivation? Does he actually want to learn to play the drums? (As SticksEasy already mentioned)

I guess if he has motivation you can start with the most simple stickings like a singlestroke, paradiddle and double stroke and stuff. I think it would help him to develope his cognitive abilities as well?
if he managed that, go on and let him play just hihat 8th notes and snare on 2 and 4 without bassdrum first - then go on and add bassdrum on 1 and 3 - maybe he'll manage it well?


Let us now how he developes :)


minimum age for drums at 9 or 10 and there's a good reason for that.
which is?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
The 5 year old doesn't read-music or even basic words-yet. He can count to 10, and barely knows his left from his right. Is he too young? I am not really sure what I can teach him with his cognitive level right now. I usually start beginning students with the Alfred Snare Drum or Alfred Drumset Beginning Methods. I think even that is way over his head at this point.

Does anyone here have any tips or advice on teaching beginning, young (7 and under) students? I have no trouble teaching beginners, but that's assuming they can understand beats, measures, quarter notes, basic rudiments etc. and can read about them and comprehend the concepts.
My youngest student was 3 when he started. Yep, 3. And he's 5 now. It's been a great experience! He's a rare child, no doubt! I've taught several 5 year olds over the years. Some last only a few weeks, nothing you can do about it. And one I declined to teach, because he could not sit still for 3 seconds, even with mom in the room.

The kid's personality is everything at this point. Some kids just can't sit still or pay attention at all, and most toddlers have an attention span of about 5 minutes at the most, which means you need to find a new (ish) activity every few minutes (luckily, that's about the length of a song). Practicing paradiddles for 20 minutes is not going to work!

Your job is also different. With an older student, you teach the instrument and its relation to the music. With a very young student, your job is to make the instrument fun, create accessible "games" and challenges, and be continually supportive and encouraging, saying "great job!" or "awesome!" or "amazing!" at every chance. Don't intellectualize too much or be too demanding; the worst thing you can do is turn him off to music lessons or music in general! Try to get the child to choose the music you play along to, maybe by going through mom and dad's CD collection or mp3 catalog, to get them personally invested. Choosing music with big, obvious drum parts works best, but anything with a fun vibe will be great (just watch out for profanity). Simplify the task of playing along, by playing just quarters on the bass drum, or just bass and snare, or just hi-hats; and feel free to change it up mid-song. Above all, smile and have fun yourself!

Other "games" include "Simon Says" (challenge him, but then switch roles, so the child plays a group of notes that YOU duplicate, and let him win sometimes!), reading notes along to the click by saying the note value ("quar ter quar ter 8th 8th 8th 8th quar ter quar ter haaaalfff nooooote"), and using a chalk board or white board to draw a beat (literally drawing a bunch of hi-hats, bass drums, and snare drums) and pointing to each part of the beat as he tries to play it.

Good luck!
 
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