As a large portion of my drum students are younger with their parents paying for lessons, I thought it would be a good idea to give parents a few pointers about having their child take drum lessons.
Like any musical instrument practicing is important if you want the student to get the most out of their lesson (and the most “value for your dollar”!)
I will make the lessons as positive as possible… your son or daughter should enjoy the lesson experience! I will give them a realistic amount of assignments that will be achievable with practice. Learning to play drums involves developing coordination. Our body learns to coordinate itself through repetition. So, if you hear your child practicing the same thing for hours on end, that’s good!! This repetitive approach will make the coordination become comfortable and “second nature”. This will lead them to successful drumming experiences!
I am not a big advocate of forcing a practice schedule on the student. However, it is often a good idea to set out a realistic practice schedule that doesn’t feel like a chore. Just remember, if they only practice a total of less than one hour a week, they are probably going to progress very slowly…
To encourage your child to practice, create a comfortable practice space. Many times, younger students don’t like to be holed up alone in a dark basement to practice… how uninspiring! If you want your child to practice, make sure that their practice environment is comfortable. Also, hearing protection is a MUST (especially for the keen practiser!)
If your child isn’t motivated to work on their lesson assignments, then maybe lessons aren’t the right thing for them right now. Taking a breather from formal lessons can be a good thing too! A break can give the student time to simply play their drums without an agenda. When they are ready to resume, you may find that they are more self-motivated and actually start practicing their lessons without the need of your reminder!
You have already started and supported their drumming goals by providing your child with drum lessons. I would like to think that I am an excellent drum motivator, but in reality I can only do so much to help your child stay passionate and inspired about getting better at their drumming. You can encourage their musical growth by:
- Exposing them to music: all styles!
- Buying DVDs and music files: Have them check out some songs that you like and you check out some of the songs they like.
- Watching them practice! Maybe have them teach you what they are doing!
- If you can play an instrument, try playing together (also known as “jamming”!)
- Bring them to drum clinics! These are workshops in which a well known drummer performs and talks about drums and drumming. The Montreal Drumfest is a weekend worth of such clinics in a beautiful concert hall. A great experience for drummers and non-drummers too!
- Purchase drumming educational materials such as DVD’s and books. Today there are all kinds of great educational resources to take advantage of! See my links page.
All of these things will help to foster their growth as musicians. They encourage the excitement and fun of playing the drums and help to keep the passion and drum inspiration alive!