Teachers: what to say to a 5 year old...

matthew

Senior Member
What do you say to a five year old who says they are bored and they don't like playing the drums?

It happened to me for the first time the other day at a music school I was teaching in. It really put a downer on my day especially because I can't see a way to make this kid enjoy the drums.

He has always been hard to keep on task. Constantly asking him to "try your best to finish this line".

I even stopped doing conventional lessons, and just got him to imitate me on the drums, and even on the congas... I did single stroke rolls with my hands on congas with easy and fun sounding accent patters.... too hard for him... he didn't see the point.

to get a little bit of fun out of the drums it takes a little talent and perseverance, but if a student has no concept of why people play the drums or what you can accomplish by playing them, they won't work on anything, especially if their personality is not one that is willing to just be told what to do.

This kid doesn't want to learn, I have tried for months now. What else can I do?

I don't want to say to his parents don't come back here until he is older, but if he keeps at this rate I will definitely put him off the drums for life and potentially ruin drumming for someone who might have later took a shining to it.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
teach him the piano.

I don't know why one need to force a child of that age to do something as difficult as drumming if the kid didn't want to do it. One of the things I feel very strongly about is that when teaching a child an instrument, you are teaching certain skills. discipline, success, socialization, math etc. as much so or even more so than the instrument. In other words integrating the lesson into his greater learning experience. You really have to ask what he is learning if you are continuing to force him to do this.

The other thing is to find ways to make learning fun regardless of learning specific concepts relating to the drums.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
teach him the piano.

I don't know why one need to force a child of that age to do something as difficult as drumming if the kid didn't want to do it. One of the things I feel very strongly about is that when teaching a child an instrument, you are teaching certain skills. discipline, success, socialization, math etc. as much so or even more so than the instrument. In other words integrating the lesson into his greater learning experience. You really have to ask what he is learning if you are continuing to force him to do this.

The other thing is to find ways to make learning fun regardless of learning specific concepts relating to the drums.
Ken is right on point.

Matthew - let's say you are 5 years old again and thought you might like to play soccer. Well, your parents enroll you and you are excited the first day. After some time, you realize that you don't really like the game. All the other kids run around and try to score a goal while you sort of walk up and down the field - daydreaming about anything but soccer. Would your parents really want to keep you in the sport? Would it be fair for them to pay their hard earned money to the coach or athletic organization for something you don't really participate in (just attend)?

Why would it be any different with drumming. Ken is right. Suggest that he try another instrument before he gets totally turned off by music.

What do you say to a five year old who says they are bored and they don't like playing the drums?
Don't say anything to him - talk to his parents.

I don't want to say to his parents don't come back here until he is older
The parents are paying for it. They have a right to know that they are not getting their money's worth (not because of you, but because of the child's lack of participation).


Jeff
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I'm not a teacher, but I have a 5 year old nephew who bangs on my kit every now and then. Question for you teachers.. you guys think 5 year olds have the motor skills to learn and enjoy playing the drums other than just getting a kick out of the sounds they make when you beat them?
 
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matthew

Senior Member
Good points so far. I'm an absolute beginner at teaching (1 year now), but I'm loving it and I want to do better.

I will definitely speak to their parents next time. It's only fair on them and the student.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I've been teaching for a few years, and in my experience 5 years is a bit too young to start playing drums, not speaking about rare exceptions. The schools I teach for recommend at least an age of 6-7 to start.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I'm not teacher, but I have a 5 year old nephew who bangs on my kit every now and then. Question for you teachers.. you guys think 5 year olds have the motor skills to learn and enjoy playing the drums other than just getting a kick out of the sounds they make when you beat them?
not really. I also teach piano and is is strange to see that most of the childrens' books have no clue how to teach piano. That guy on PBS is right when he says most people just want to be able to play chords to a song. They teach all this counterpoint, which is great, but the kids don't get it.
 
B

Big_Philly

Guest
I myself don't take pupils younger than 8 - I find 8-year-olds hard enough to keep focused and interested. Other than that I agree with Ken and Jeff.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
At 5 the attention span is zero. Tell the parents to try again when he is 7 or 8 and see what happens. All of us wanted to be policemen, or firemen when we were 5 and very few of us even knew what that was. I tried piano in the 2nd grade...one year, saxophone in the 6th grade...one year, and drums in the 8th grade...going on 50 years. 5 is too young to make a decision.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
There are many 5 year olds who do have the ability and attention span to start lessons. But at that age, each situation is very different. I often have the parents bring the child in for a trial lesson. Usually you can see within the first few lessons if it is too early for the child.

Jeff
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I'm not a teacher, but I have a 5 year old nephew who bangs on my kit every now and then. Question for you teachers.. you guys think 5 year olds have the motor skills to learn and enjoy playing the drums other than just getting a kick out of the sounds they make when you beat them?
There are many 5 year olds who do have the ability and attention span to start lessons. But at that age, each situation is very different. I often have the parents bring the child in for a trial lesson. Usually you can see within the first few lessons if it is too early for the child.

Jeff
Definitely depends on the student. I've had several 5 yr. old students learn and execute, with great attention and enthusiasm, nearly perfect stick technique and pretty good note spacing at a fairly broad tempo range in a matter of 3 or 4 lessons. Then I've had older kids- 11-14-ish- who acted more like 5 yr. olds with attention and effort, and weren't as good after 6 months. Adults too, but not from lack of enthusiasm, but lack of practice! And sometimes coordination/talent.

What do you say to a five year old who says they are bored and they don't like playing the drums?

It happened to me for the first time the other day at a music school I was teaching in. It really put a downer on my day especially because I can't see a way to make this kid enjoy the drums.
If a child doesn't wanna do it, there's no "find a way to make him/her enjoy it". No kid will enjoy nor put meaningful effort into something he/she dislikes, period, and I feel it's unreasonable to expect it, much less make a child do it anyway.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I do understand the limitations of attention spans of kids that age (.. and God knows some adults as well!! ), but my question was more about whether a 5 year old has the motor skills to space out two strokes evenly and have an understanding & a musical appreciation for it.

Say with a piano, I would imagine kids could make 'music' by just banging away at it. The drums you could bang too and have fun with that, but not guitars, clarinets etc..instruments that require a fundamental level of dexterity even to get sounds out of them.

I'm sure there are exceptions and there are some talented prodigies out there, but given the lack of dexterity available at that age, to go beyond just having a 'go' on the drums,I doubt if it isn't asking too much of a 5 yr. old.

...
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Yes, there are issues of dexterity and in addition breathing capacity with the horns. As well there are appropriate levels of knowledge for a child. Reading music is very abstract, and also necessitates a level of mathematic comprehension that kids do not have until about 9 or 10.

I have a 9 year old that is very smart. I am working though level three snare drum and basic Latin beats with him. I've taught him how to count rolls, which he understands. But he cannot grasp the idea that a roll that is not tied to a single stroke will end on the upbeat. He'll get it because he's bright. Most kids his age cannot understand the notion of counting a roll. I couldn't at his age. A roll is essentially an algebraic equation. 2x +1 =y. I am not going to force my kids to understand these concepts if it is outside their periphery of understanding

The problem really is that if you are forcing a kid to take lessons it has more to do with the parent's expectations than with the kid's ability. Perhaps they want to force their kid to understand these concepts so that he'll be ahead of their class, or they want him to be a prodigy so they can brag about him and put him on you tube. Exposing kids to various disciplines is a good idea. But where's the hurry?
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I've taught him how to count rolls, which he understands. But he cannot grasp the idea that a roll that is not tied to a single stroke will end on the upbeat. He'll get it because he's bright. Most kids his age cannot understand the notion of counting a roll. I couldn't at his age. A roll is essentially an algebraic equation. 2x +1 =y.
Do you mean the concept of just counting one for two strokes, or even one for four strokes (so 1+1 for a five stroke roll basically)? Just go ensure I get what you're talking about.

Also, is level 3 snare drum an "official" term, does it mean everything within the 16th-note range? (Level 1 = quarters, level 2 = eights, level 3 = 16ths I suppose)
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I am referring to counting sixteenth notes. 2x + 1 = y where x is the number of sixteenth notes. For a five stroke roll, x would be 2, 2 doubled or or 2x2 +1 = 5. I wouldn't explain rolls with algebra. I am just saying that the mathematical tool to fully understand rolls is algebraic in nature.

As far as the levels, that is a pretty good summation. I go by the NY State system; but there is a general understanding of the levels.
 

ddocimo

Junior Member
He'sfive. maybe he should take a break and focus less on one thing. if he comes back, he comes back
 
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