There are no strict “age rules” that define when your child is ready to start taking music lessons. As a parent it is important that you take notice of your child’s abilities and even possibly gifts that could lead to the decision to start them in a more formal music lesson program.
Drum lessons for kids specifically would largely be based on their skill level. While all age groups may be introduced to a drum for “play”, more formal lessons may not be available until they are a bit older due to the abilities needed in terms of dexterity.
It has been proven time and time again in different studies that children who are engaged in a music program are more likely to have better comprehension abilities, more advanced motor skills, better understanding of math and an overall improvement in self-confidence. But these are things that they do not care about, they just know music is FUN!
If you have a child that is showing a true interest in music, it is important to nurture it! Even something as simple as letting them practice without real drums can help nurture their passion.
So, imagine you are in the car and in the backseat your toddler is jamming and be-bopping to the sounds on the radio. Then suddenly you hear the slapping of those little hands on whatever they can reach – their knees, the sides of the car seat, the back of the front seat – wherever they can keep that beat, they are.
Now, if this happens on most car rides and not just a couple – it could just be one small sign they may be ready for drum lessons.
Older kids can simply ask if they can take drum lessons – which makes your life so much easier, but what about the younger children?
How do you know if they really have an interest? It is definitely more challenging.
Below are some tips for helping you find the level of interest your child may have and how to source programs based on different age groups.
Under 1 year
Most areas have a selection of mommy and me type programs, whether through a local park system or a pay to play program. When my daughter was born I started taking her to a mommy and me music group when she was about 6 months old. It was a great way to meet other moms and she really loved it – even at that young of an age I was able to see her interest in the different musical instruments.
Classes are usually about a half hour to 45 minutes and they will entail singing and playing with a variety of age appropriate instruments. The moms have to be actively involved of course — so you will help them feel and use each of the instruments.
In our class there were drums, but they were pretty simplistic and plastic — with plastic drumsticks. This is fine for this age group – it may be a bit too early to really understand which instruments they prefer.
In this age range the classes may still be very similar to those under 1 year but there will be a little bit less parental interaction and the classes may include additional musical instruments that were not available to that age group.
During this age range you may begin seeing kids gravitate toward a specific musical instrument a bit more. With my own daughter I began to see her go towards the xylophone and drums a bit more than the other instruments. This caused a bit of a tantrum now and then, but in the end we made it work!
3 and 4 Year Olds
If you noticed that your child was showing more interest in certain instruments in a mommy and me group or at home, then this is a recommended age to begin immersing them a little more into a musical program.
Most programs for kids this age run about 30 minutes and may involve not only musical lessons, but singing and dancing as well. This will help children build a variety of skills to help them improve their creativity and musical skills. At this age parents do not usually need to take part allowing children to gain a little bit of independence.
Ages 5 – 7 years
During these years children are really learning how to use musical instruments on a different level than when they were a toddler. They will now traditionally have the dexterity to be able to use instruments a little easier and can begin to read very basic musical notes.
They may still not be ready at this age to necessarily learn the drums on the level you may feel they want to – but they can begin using beginner drum sets or even a mini drum set to get them started on the journey. Let them work with drumsticks, let them practice drums without a real drum set to allow them to build skills they will need and encourage them to listen to great influencers in the drum world.
It is around the age of 7 when most children can begin to use the drums on a more sophisticated level. By this age they have better listening skills and more focus and can gain value from a drum teacher that younger children typically do not have.
There are of course exceptions to this rule, my daughter was very focused on a young age and had listening skills that were far above her age which is why we started her in music lessons at the age of 4.
This is also the age where we would begin to recommend a more advanced drum set that they can grow into as they grow their skills and education.
There are some options for teaching your child the drums at home as well if that is the avenue you are choosing to take. For some distance, time or money may be an issue in preventing them from including their young children in more formal programs — so it is smart to consider alternate options.
Whether your child wants to play a musical instrument or bang on the drums for fun or for a potential career, remember this is meant to be FUN! There are so many benefits to children playing an instrument and we encourage parents to be involved, be supportive and make it fun not a chore. If your child begins to wain from interest – it is important to find out why and not just let them quit – but also not force them to do something that is making them miserable.
This journey is a fun and educational one that can have great rewards in their personal lives and well as their education/career life.