Kids can be fickle – one day it is drums, then next day the Tuba. We highly recommend providing your child alternate options for practicing the drums if they are showing an interest that will not only cost you nothing – but will save your sanity with the avoidance of noise. Because drum lessons can be expensive, the options below are just a good way to help you better understand exactly how interested they may be in learning drums.
With the options below your child can start “practicing” and working some important muscles and gaining other experiences that will help them when the time comes to transition to real drums.
Because drums can be pricey we recommend thee options below to allow you to see if they are really interested in the art of drums or if they are just more interested in making lots of noise. Explain to your child that these techniques are a way that even the most professional drummers have used to learn some drum skills and they should be practicing in no time!
A good idea is to give them a “2 month” trial plan using the drumming techniques below. If you see them working on their drum skills using these methods pretty frequently, then making the investment into a great drum set for kids is something you should consider.
Playing on an imaginary set of drums can help improve the muscle tone in a child’s arms and get them used to the motions needed to be a great drum player. I am pretty confident most of us in our lives have played some air drums when our favorite song would come on the radio – for me it was Led Zeppelin or Motley Crew that got those arms waving!
For air drumming, kids will not even need sticks — but some like to have something in their hands, so let them have some sticks or spoons from the kitchen so they can have something to hold. Play some music that features a great drumming portion in it and let them play away in the air.
Remind them to not just focus on the drums — but make believe that there are multiple drum heads or even a symbol or two. This will help them learn to move from side to side and reach while practicing so they get the feel of how a real drum set will be used.
Musical air practice is not a new concept. In some schools that do not have music programs, which we actually hate seeing – they use “air musical play” as a teaching tool. We love what the group called PlayAir is doing for kids in Australia.
There is also a great online lesson on how children can use their bodies as a drum to learn some of the techniques needed to become a good drummer from the people at Little Kids Rock.
Practicing In A Pillow
This is probably a more popular option with smaller kids since they are more likely to just want to hit things! This can be as easy as finding a couple of sticks or kitchen items like spoons to help them learn to “hold” a stick so to speak and understand the estimated force they will need to hit a drumhead.
One of the real benefits of the pillow method of practicing drums for kids is how it helps with their speed and dexterity. The repetitiveness of the motions and daily working of the muscles will help them prepare for the real drum set!
Below is an example – Genevea is 7 years old and works hard at improving her control and speed and you can see how she gains both with practice…practice…….PRACTICE!
Online Apps & Games
With kids being smarter and more advanced than ever — having even the littlest drummers start online is a really great option! There are a lot of websites and apps for kids that can help them improve their drumming skills and entertain as well.
One of our favorites is Drum Session by KornmanGames. It is an easy to use website that allows kids to simply click numbers or use the mouse to work the different drums and cymbals. They can create their own beats and have lots of fun being creative! Another similar website option for playing the drums is the Virtual Drums on OY1.com.
If you prefer to have an “on the go” option there are a few apps for drummers that are also great. Drum Set is an Android app that allows kids to play along to their favorite songs. Drums is a pay to play app that is for iPhone and iPads and is similar to the Drum Set for Android. Parents may need to help younger drum enthusiasts get it going, but this could be a lot of fun and build a lot of skills!
Pots and Pans
Never underestimate the value of the good old pots and pans for the youngest drummers. Different pots make different noises – so set out a few, offer up some wooden spoons and let them “bang on the drums all day”. This is the perfect option for toddlers as it will teach them the dexterity needed to hold a drumstick properly and it will help them identify the different sounds different pots can make.
To make it more interesting let them hit the pots and pans with metal spoons and even plastic spoons to allow them to make different sounds.
Set out a few plastic bowls as well for some added fun and to teach them more about the sound differentiation between different