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What age to start drum lessons?
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drockfresh
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#1
7th January 2010
Old 7th January 2010
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What age to start drum lessons?

My 3 year old cousin loves to bang on the drums more than anything.

One drum teacher told his mom to wait until he was 6 years old for lessons.

What do you think?
#2
7th January 2010
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I was 10 when I started. I don't know. I think 6 is a good minimum age. 3 is so young I don't think he'll want to sit there for regimented lessons. Just let him bang on something around the house. You don't want to suck the fun out of it for him.

Also, get him some earplugs or if he pulls them out, some construction type closed hearing protection ear muffs like:
http://img.directindustry.com/images...ffs-250404.jpg

Not sure if they make them for kids. Somebody must.
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7th January 2010
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If he's 3 and already wants to play... just let him teach himself. F**k lessons!
By the time he's "old enough" for lessons, he'll probably already have a good sense of rhythm and his own little technique that will stay with him the rest of his life.
Don't let some teacher tell him he's doing it wrong and that he should be doing it HIS way.
I have a 2 year old son who's a drum nut, just like me... and I wouldn't dream of trying to change the way he enjoys them.
When he's older and wants to take lessons on his own... he can go ahead but for now, just let him do what comes natural.
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7th January 2010
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+1 on the natural approach. Let the kid take his own steps, if he wants lessons I'm sure he'll ask for it.
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7th January 2010
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10 and up !!!
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7th January 2010
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7th January 2010
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If he REALLY wants to beat on drums more than anything, help him get educated as soon as possible!

(Otherwise, he'll be both loud AND horrible!)
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drockfresh
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7th January 2010
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8th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
Thanks all for the suggestions. I just ordered him the Kid's drum set. thumbsup
You are one cool cousin. I hope he stays with it.

The answer to your original question, which was "what age to start lessons" is different for each child, and to some extent, to the instrument.

If the child can reach all the controls (pedals and manuals), tie his/her own shoelaces (shows development of coordination), count to four and -most importantly- sit still for a half-hour lesson without Mommy in the room, then they're ready for formal lessons.

Until then, you just show him how it's done by doing it in front of him and letting him experiment.

Cheers,
++aldo
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#10
10th January 2010
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I find it difficult to give formal lessons to kids under 9. Just encourage his playing and maybe play along with him. See if he might enjoy playing along with CDs or the radio.
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14th January 2010
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I agree on holding off on lessons. I've been playing for 24 years. Started when I was 9. I feel like that was a pretty good age, although having all kinds of nieces and nephews around and being able to see their relative maturity, I'd say 6 or 7 is not out of the question.

That being said, I have two 2 1/2 year old nephews. They both loved my drums, so their parents got each of them a little kit for Christmas. I occasionally play little games with them like the old Simon game, where I hit two or three things in a row and see if they can do it back. (It helps when you use the jellybean vistalite kit. ) Other than that, we just let them bang to their hearts content. You can see them sink into a rhythm. I wouldn't want to confuse them with "lessons" right now. Kids that age don't follow instruction well if it's not fun, get distracted, and plain old don't have some of the coordination necessary. Right now it's all about fun. When they want more, you'll know.
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#12
21st January 2010
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I started my son on lessons before his was born, when I was practicing my rhythm on his mom. I was giving her a blast beat! I apologize for my words.
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21st January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravedigga View Post
I started my son on lessons before his was born, when I was practicing my rhythm on his mom. I was giving her a blast beat! I apologize for my words.
...So much for the "rhythm method"!

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22nd February 2010
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Buddy Rich, Dennis Chambers, and Virgil Donati started at 3-4. It shows!
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22nd February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamiel View Post
Buddy Rich, Dennis Chambers, and Virgil Donati started at 3-4. It shows!

Buddy Rich...
He began playing drums in vaudeville when he was 18 months old, billed as "Traps the Drum Wonder "
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23rd February 2010
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Traps:
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23rd February 2010
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Quote:
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23rd February 2010
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I was 3 when I got my first drum set, my fathers friend who was also the drummer in his band gave me a Gold Sparkle set of Slingerlands,this was1977, and thats where it all started, I never had lessons, learned on my own...before I got the drums my grand mother used to take one of those quaker oats oatmeal round cardboard containers and put a string through it so I could carry it around my neck and beat on the top of it like a drum...I don't think it's ever to early to start playing, I can see the teacher not wanting to deal with such a young kid!!..I got my first brand new kit when I was 5, It was a black set of pearl exports!
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11th March 2010
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Let the kid play!!! But give them some ear plugs/isolation headphones to protect their hearing.
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11th March 2010
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There's a little kid I babysit sometimes (age 5) who has taken quite a fascination with drums.

His parents bought him a little plastic drum that is pretty quiet, and he plays with it all the time. It's got plastic mallets attached with lengths of cord so they don't get lost.

I started teaching him rudiments and he knows a few, and can name them correctly.

I started showing him drum-lesson videos from youtube last time, and when Mom & Dad got home he looked up at them as he took a break from practicing on his plastic drum, and informed them that he wanted a "rack tom."

...Mom & Dad looked at me sideways with those parental dagger-eyes -- like he had just repeated a profanity, and they were pretty damn sure he had learned it from me.

(I shrugged with a shifty grin, and chuckled quietly to myself.)


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13th March 2013
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Some good comments on here, and I agree it's important to encourage young children to start exploring music right away. However, as far as private lessons goes, there are some factors that make waiting to start drum lessons beneficial to the student. First, a child's physical development and strength plays a big role. Extended periods of playing can wear out the wrists and fingers, even for older players who are out of practice. Also, the student needs to have the attention span to commit to a lesson. At age three, the student may not be able to stay focused for an entire lesson. While there's no magic age to start drum lessons, I'd recommend seven as the best age to start drum lessons. More here: The Right Age to Start Drum Lessons

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13th March 2013
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Sorry, he's too old to start.




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13th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundmanluke View Post
If he's 3 and already wants to play... just let him teach himself. F**k lessons!
.
This is terrible advice!
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13th March 2013
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I agree with the earlier comment that a lot of the drumming greats started very young.
I wouldn't go for formal, regular lessons, but 'teaching yourself' is often a dead end due to bad habits.
Finding a teacher that can help with basic stuff like stick grip and simple ergonomics would be a positive start. Maybe a 15 or 30 minute lesson every couple of months, then every 6 months once the kid has some good basic habits?
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15th March 2013
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I have taught kids as young as 5 in a formal lesson setting. Sure, some of them dropped out pretty fast, but some of those kids really got good. I have seen even younger children learn from a Musician parent on a less-formal basis.

Aside from reaching the pedals, which a mini-set can fix, I don't see anything about drums that is any different from any other mental or physical skill a child can learn. Few parents "wait" to teach their kid to throw and catch a ball until he is six!!

Suzuki violin students start at 3.

If the child is motivated AND has a parent who will keep after them to practice during the week it is more than possible.

I think the parent's involvement at this age is critical. You can put the weight on an older kid and say "it's up to you" to practice or remember to bring your books to the lesson, but a five-year-old is simply not that organized.

Far too many parents are secretly (or not so secretly) hoping the child will outgrow his interest in drums and will subvert the process in one way or another.

For example the whole: "pad now/ drum set later when you prove yourself" travesty. Drums is the only instrument where students are put in the situation where they are expected to practice without owning the instrument!
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18th March 2013
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I disagree with the notion that lessons are a bad idea. It really depends on the kid. Kids younger than 6 do usually have a really tough time keeping their attention for an entire lesson. However, I recently had a 4 year old student (he's still going) and you have to take a totally different approach at that age, but he ended up doing great. We worked on learning rhythm basics and listening to beats, tempos, etc. We went at his speed and kept things fun above all else -- that is the key. The amazing thing was that he actually started reading music (8th note beats) before he was even reading words. Clearly, he will have a head start over any students who don't start for a few years.
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24th June 2013
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I'm looking at these forums to help me shop for my six-year-old son, who's been taking drum lessons for close to two years now. He usually has no problem focusing for his half-hour lesson. He has a really patient and flexible teacher. His progress has blown my expectations out of the water.

Here's a little clip of him: Our little working drummer - YouTube
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25th June 2013
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Originally Posted by mdash View Post
I'm looking at these forums to help me shop for my six-year-old son, who's been taking drum lessons for close to two years now. He usually has no problem focusing for his half-hour lesson. He has a really patient and flexible teacher. His progress has blown my expectations out of the water.

Here's a little clip of him: Our little working drummer - YouTube
He's better than me!

Shop for what? If it's a new teacher, I don't think he needs one, and if it's for drums, several companies make junior-sized kits. But actually, he seems to be able to play a full-sized kit already, so I'm not sure you need to shop for anything.

Good luck.

Steve
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25th June 2013
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Grestch makes a catilina club jazz kit w/ 18" kick, 12" Tom, and a 14" floor. That's probably as small a production kit you'll find. Can get one for around $700. Yamaha makes a small one too but the name escapes me. Yamaha-Manu-Katche-Junior-Kit.

Also it seems Sonor makes a kit with a 16" bass drum w/smaller Tom and floor called "Safari"
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25th June 2013
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Actually, now I'm pretty much done (though I'll keep on the lookout for cymbal upgrades, etc.). Got him a Gretsch Catalina Club kit with a 20-inch kick (14×20, 8×12, 14×14, 4.5×14). He plays a 22-incher at his lessons, so I figured he can handle the size. (I picked up some used Zildjian A custom hats and a matching crash. We've borrowed a ride from his cousin.) He'll be getting it all for his birthday in a few days. (Prior to this he's been playing a junior CB kit.)

I have no musical involvement myself, so I've had a blast researching this stuff. I hope I've got him a reasonably good setup.
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