FOCUS on teaching your child to FEEL & HEAR the BACKBEATS of a recorded song.
PLAY RECORDINGS and clap along in-time with the SNARE or repeating BACKBEATS of the music. Get your child to follow along with you . . . (Clapping their hands.)
Find the 'backbeat flow' and begin clapping in-time with the repeating snare backbeats on the recordings. Encourage your young student to clap along in-time WITH you!
Mix with abundant hugs, smiling, and laughter. (Some parents tend to become far too serious . . . It makes me SCREAM at the parents when I see it. Please DON'T do that. Think 'FUN'!)
When your child becomes bored . . . BACK OFF.
Do it for a little-while every day, until they can feel the BACKBEAT FLOW, instinctively. It will eventually happen, if you'll remain patient and allow the child enough time to get the hang of it.
This is a great past-time when you are riding in the car, and listening to the radio. Tap on the dash with one hand, and drive with the other.
WATCH THE ROAD! (And, . . . Let me off at the next corner!)
LATER . . . TEST to see if your child can find the BACKBEAT on their own, . . . WITHOUT your help. Sometimes it helps to stop clapping, and just point the index finger on each backbeat, while saying, "clap", each time you point IN-TIME, with the music.
Coax the child to continue clapping even after you've stopped participating. If the child tends to get off-beat, start pointing again, but only for a short while. The idea is to help the child learn to 'FEEL' and 'FIND' the backbeat, on their own.
Don't coach TOO MUCH as the music plays. Your child will eventually find the beat, when there are FEWER distractions.
The child needs to FOCUS ON THE MUSIC and NOT on our constant coaching . . . (It's even hard for me to pull away at this point, but it's the RIGHT thing to do.)
The child's 'ear' will need some time to develop. It requires DEEP FOCUS and lazer-like CONCENTRATION, ON JUST THE MUSIC and no distractions.
NOTE: Some recent studies have indicated that this sort of training can be very constructive in helping some children (and adults) overcome Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.)
One thing is absolute! It certainly won't hurt ANY of us, to develop this sort of 'laser-like' mental focus.
I've noticed, over my many years as a private teacher, that HYPER-ACTIVE people, and hyper-active kids (especially), will often become the very best drummers. The trick seems to be dependant on whether or not can help them discover this laser-like focus, on the backbeat-flow within the music they hear around them every day.
My consensus is that drumming may just be a BETTER CURE for hyper-activity and A.D.D., than all those scary and powerful drugs they are prescribing these days!
So . . . keep hammering away at the this backbeat thing, every day! It may just help do A LOT MORE BENEFICIAL GOOD, than we're expecting.
It may go poorly, at first. That's VERY common! Expect it! I find that it can sometimes take a couple of months for some kids to get it, but they ALL seem to get it, sooner or later.
I've never failed on this! I know that sounds strangly over-confident, but I want to emphasize it.
Even when I did 'think' I had failed some students, I later found that after enough time had passed, they all seemed to get it. After the student has listened and tried, with enough music, they will ALL eventually be successful with this! It seems to be a simple matter of developng the habit of listening for the RIGHT SOUNDS.
The trick is to remain patient, while continuing to coax the child to follow our (smiling, happy) lead.
THE SONGS the child claps along with, will need to be THEIR PERSONAL FAVORITE SONGS. Find 8th 4/4 songs that appeal to your individual child's personal, young, musical taste . . .
'Brittney Spears' was once a good place to look . . . or nursery, and Disney songs, if that's what your child likes. Much of the new 'Christian music' is also great. Choose any songs the child seems to like, but look for songs that have a dominant and easy-to-follow, backbeat flow.
Keep trying until it happens! Good luck to you both . . .
Find the BASS drum within the music . . . try to get the child to listen for just the BASS. POINT a finger as you hear each BASS drum in a song . . .
Try POINTING at the floor as you pat your foot along with the BASS DRUM parts . . . while ALSO clapping the hands on the SNARE BACKBEATS.
Do BOTH, simultaneously.
I'm moving across the room . . . haha, this could get REALLY dangerous! :>)
When the drummer plays a fill or roll on the TOMS . . . point and say, "tom-tom" . . . Go through the motions of hitting the toms . . . 'air-drummer' style, even when away from the drums.
We don't have to be at the drumset to learn or teach. Imagination is a VERY important part of the creative process.
Get the child listening and doing all these same things.
It's much more difficult to hear the hi-hat and cymbal parts . . . but when/if you DO hear them in a song, be SURE to point it out to the child.
THE OBJECTIVE . . .
Teach the child to listen DEEPLY into the recorded music for each-part of THE DRUM SET, (or whatever instrument you want to guide them into.) You may just produce a working musician by age 10, by doing it this way!
NEXT LESSON . . .
We'll start thinking about acquiring a drum set. When to buy drums, what to buy, and what to do if you can't afford drums right now.
We'll also teach our young pre-schooler the names of all the various parts of the drum set. Any pre-schooler can learn this with the right sort of patient coaching.