Is Your Child Old Enough to Start Drum Lessons?

prime_coverI get a lot of enquiries from parents of young kids who are interested in drumming. Is your child ready for lessons?
The short answer is “maybe”. It really depends on each child.

I find these questions helpful for parents to assess their young kids for my lessons. Ask yourself  – are they:

  • willing and able to concentrate through an entire 30-60 min lesson?
  • able motivate themselves to practice challenging material every day?
    remembering that practice is usually very different to just playing for fun
  • able to identify problem areas and formulate questions for the next lesson?

If not, it’s my opinion that your child is probably too young for lessons.

Other factors that should influence the decision are the willingness/availability of the parents themselves. Over the years I’ve had a few parents inform me that they are stopping lessons because their 7-10 year old doesn’t practice. Of course they don’t! Young children do not understand the concept of delayed gratification for long term gain, a concept that most of us adults struggle with. Parents of young children should understand that they are the ones who are going to have to initiate, and to some extent supervise, daily practice sessions.

Being are able to sit in on practice sessions, as well as the occasional lesson, can be tremendously helpful with young kids. It may only take 5 minutes to get things started, although in the beginning you should be prepared to sit through entire sessions. So if the idea of dropping your child off at lessons so you can get an hour of peace appeals to you, perhaps think again.

If you do decide that your child is too young for lessons, it doesn’t mean that they are too young to enjoy just playing drums for a few years- playing being the operative word.  It’s ok, and often hugely beneficial, to let them enjoy their unconscious incompetence while attempting to play along with music. You don’t have to invest in a full drum kit, as long as they have something to hit that makes a sound, and they’re enjoying themselves, they’re drumming!
That’s how many working drummers (including myself playing a basketball with 2 meat skewers) started.

Best of Luck!
Wayne

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