Teaching Coordination at the Drumset Part 2

(NOTE: Remember to use the 'BACK BUTTON' of your browser, if you click the links that lead outside of this web page.)


  • Our first objective is to eventually teach our pre-schooler to repeat the 8th rock beat at super human speeds.

  • Once the student has adequate control and ability, with playing that beat pattern, our prime objective is to then help the student play it along with ANY of the millions of recorded songs that fall into this same beat category.

Remember this! 
In order for the child (or anyone) to properly play along with the 50 million songs that fall into this important beat-structure, we will need to have the child gain a SPECIAL ability to repeat this 8th rock beat for three minutes or longer, without stopping, slowing-down, or speeding-up.

Now, since our budding drummer, has come to us, equipped with an attention-span of 10-seconds (or less) . . . It means we've really taken-on a monumental task! We teachers need to be prepared for that!

We may need to approach these objectives several different ways.

First . . . I would suggest that we should begin with the most direct approach, . . . as follows.

Begin with that beat, the way it's explained in the following online lesson.

We find that some kids can often do it sooner than we might expect; While other children may need a considerable amount of coordination and concentration development, before the final results can be achieved.

Try to teach it this way, first . . .


(For 'YOU', and the child.)


  • Tap the cymbal with your right hand, exactly 4 times, then stop.

    Use sticks if you are on a simulated drum set, or real drums. You can also do this, with the hands only, (no sticks), as you sit at the kitchen table. Just make a game out of it by challenging the child to 'copy' your moves.

  • Then turn to the child and say, "Can you do that"? Coax the child to do it as you have just done it.

    A 3-year-old may not yet comprehend the concept of 'four' counts. They probably do not know their right-hand from their left-hand at this point, either! You may actually be teaching them these concepts, as you're teaching them to play. (This is a great way to teach ANY child to count.)

  • Instruct the child to 'please' tap the cymbal (ie; right-hand) like that, (four times), then stop. Get them to do it several times in a row.

  • NOW; Go to the next-easiest stage. You'll tap the cymbal four times again; But this time, you'll smack the snare drum (with your left-hand) exactly WITH the third (cymbal) count. Stop and clear the air a second after srtiking the right hand the fourth time.

  • Play and say "1 . . . 2 . . . '3' . . . 4 . . ." (right hand) and hit the snare (left-hand) as you say, "Three". Stop for a second or two after the 4th (right hand) count. Do it several times, so that the child has time to equate what you mean. It often helps if we say the '3' louder than the other numbers, emphasizing that the left and right hands are both being used on that count.

  • Then BEG the child to try it, and continue to beg them to repeat it, as much as they will.

(About now, the kid may be crawling on the floor, chasing imaginary, minature, dinosaurs, or other little non-existent creatures.) This is typical for any preschooler!

Keep it fun! Don't scold! Get them to do this if you can. You'll want them to do it many, many times, if they will. But . . . DON'T push too hard. Take your time! There's always tomorrow, if it doesn't happen today.

That may be as far as you'll get, on this first lesson. Grab some 'hammock time' and be happy with the progress, if you've made it this far. Go away for awhile . . . and let the child do as they will!


The next day, (or 30 minutes later, as you may choose.)

  • This time . . . Start where you left-off in the last lesson.

  • Play the four notes on the cymbal (right-hand) and connect with the snare drum (left-hand) each time you say, "three". Stop on the 4th right-hand count.

Do it several times, then beg and plead with the child to copy you.

Repeat, repeat, repeat (until the kid refuses.) Then . . . calmly back away, again.


(All these lessons can be done on the same day, but it's wise to seperate the intervals, depending on your child's willingness to participate.)

  • In this lesson, we'll be doing the same exercise as before; But this time, we want to get the child to repeat the pattern (several times) without stopping.The plot thinckens a little here . . .

  • Again, you should demonstrate by doing it first; But, don't stop when you get to the 4th count. This time, start the pattern over again saying, "1 . . . 2 . . . "3" . . . 4 . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . "3" . . . 4 . . ., while hitting the (left-hand) EVERYTIME you say, "Three." Do it several times in a row, WITHOUT stopping!

  • Challenge the child to see HOW MANY times they can do it without stopping.

  • Challenge them to see HOW FAST they can repeat it, over and over.

OK! That's it! 
Stop again . . . and head for the hammock, one more time. (I sure hope you are drinking orange juice each time you head for the hammock, haha.)

Try to encourage the student to keep repeating it until they can do it rapidly. Some will begin to speed-up right away, and others will not.

Every day or so afterwards, sit and work with the child on this until they can repeat it 8 or 10 times (fairly fast) without stopping. We're trying to help make this beat a playing habit.

Engraining a habit like this may take some time. Stay with it, until the student can repeat the pattern non-stop for 10 to 15 seconds.

How long this may take isn't the prime concern. But; it needs to be a thing they can do . . . without thinking. It needs to become a 'playing habit', long before they'll ever get it to work with a recorded song. So, continue to coax the student into repeating this pattern until it flows natually, without much thought or effort.

Once they can do it . . . we're home free!

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~


We're now ready for the most important part of this project. Now, we want to teach the child to play the pattern, along with a recording!

(Make note of the fact that we haven't added the bass drum, yet.)

So far, we're only concerned with the two hands. We'll try to get the student to play a few songs, without the bass right now. Then, we'll try to add the bass (on the count of one), later.



That's a tough call!

Which SPECIFIC song?

Sure!! There are more than 50 million songs from which we could choose . . . but WHICH song we choose, may make the difference between success and failure at this very crucial juncture.

Here are a couple of songs I have used a lot. They're both about the right speeds, but they may not be the absolute BEST songs for your child, or student. You (and your student) will need to decide that.

This first song . . . needs to be a song that your child likes to listen to, already. Try the songs I've provided below, and see if they work! This is about the best I can offer, here.

      You can easily choose your own songs from your own music collection at any time . . .

  • It needs to be a song that our student likes already!

  • It needs to be a song that falls into the 8th rock (beat classification.)

  • It needs to be a song with a very loud, strong, and dominate backbeat flow.

  • It needs to be a song that closely matches the tempo or speed (of the beat) your child is most comfortable playing.

Our chosen song needs to be a song that's approximately the SAME speed our student can maintain as they repeat the beat pattern, at the drums, over and over. Choose that song carefully and wisely.

* Have your Student try these two songs *

These two links below include a couple of (30 second) .mp3 song files/clips that may be about the right speed. Give them a try . . .

  • The Ocean, by Brad Yates, (a good friend of mine in Daytona Beach.) I spoke with Brad the other day. He told me he still has a couple (thousand) copies of this CD in the trunk of his car, and in his attic, haha. Get in touch with him and he'll sell you a copy. Just do a web-search for 'Brad Yates, Ocean'. :)

  • Love and Happiness, by Al Green. This song and CD is available in numerous places around the web. Just do a web search for 'Love and Happiness, by Al Green'.

I've used these two songs, simply because they are about the right tempo or speed. Search through your own collection of music for any, and all, songs you may have, that are 'approximately' this same speed.

You'll want to choose any songs that are relative to your child's ability to repeat the 8th rock beat. If your student can repeat the beat more rapidly, then you can try faster songs. If the child is slower, then use slower songs.

Also; Keep this important fact in mind; The more the student repeats the beat, the faster they'll be able to play it. The faster they can play it, the more songs they'll be able to play. A snowball effect begins to occur, if we can just get the student to play along with one song (any song) for a little while.

As the student plays along with any song, they are actually repeating the beat pattern, over and over again. The needed coordinating speeds develop almost without any noticable effort this way.

When the student is enjoying a great time, playing along with the music; They're developing their sensitivities to the beat flow, they're developing their coordination . . . while they're developing a 'natural feel' for the dynamics of the music they are playing. It kills three birds with one stone.

NOTE: I do not believe in using metronomes! In fact, I loathe them! Nothing is better for developing our timing than the music itself. If we'll play along with recordings, our timing and tempo sensitivities will develop faster, easier, . . . and it's 10 times the FUN!

Also . . . As the student hears the recorded drummers do OTHER things, (ie; add fills (ie; rolls), and fancier beat patterns), it's also very natural for the student to mimic what they're hearing within the music. They'll learn a LOT of things directly within the music. The natural'ear' develops further, and almost overninght, A NATURAL DRUMMER will evolve as a direct result . . . of HAVING FUN.

NEXT . . . Coaxing the student to add the bass drum.

The bass drum is extremely important to all that we're doing . . . but 'Rome was not built in a day!' We need to avoid too much pushing, when it comes to this issue. Tiny young muscles need a LOT of time to develop. About all we can do is encourage, and nudge the student occasionally. They'll develop the foot, as time passes.

If your student is experiencing trouble adding the bass, please be aware that it's a very common problem . . . even for a lot of adults. However; There are a few things we can do to help. Try each of these . . .

  • When the child is away from the drumset, try to coax them into simply patting the right-foot on the floor, rapidly. Do this as you watch tv together, (or whatever.) Get the student to run a race with you. Pat your foot on the floor as fast and hard as you can; Then challenge the child to match your speed. The longer we can get them to do this, and the more often they'll do it . . . the sooner they will gain control over those young muscles.

  • Again, while watching tv or killing time, away from drum the set; Try to get the child to tap out the 8th rock beat on a table (or on their knees), while seated. Be sure to focus on the foot at that time. Tell them to pat the right foot . . . EVERY time they play the first (right-hand) note in the pattern.

  • Later, as they are playing along with one of their favorite recordings, suggest that they should TRY to add the bass, if they can do it without losing the beat flow of the song. Don't push! Just suggest it, and let the student decide 'when' to try. They'll be trying! It isn't easy to do at this point. Give them all the time they need. It can somtimes take several months for this control to develop.

MEANWHILE . . . If the student is playing along with music, using ONLY the hands, it usually serves to help them realize the importance of the bass drum. They'll be hearing the recorded drummers, as they use the bass. It will all equate to the student, eventually . . . if they'll only continue to play along with song after song.

At this point, I'm hoping your student is coming along nicely. But . . . I also understand that, very often . . . we may need to take all this to even SLOWER, SIMPLER, stages. The next web page will hopfully offer some exercises that can sometimes help. Those exercises, on the web page above, may not be needed at all. You'll have to decide that!

Make note of the fact that we don't want to bore the more coordinated students with these next (extremely simplified) exercises, unless we can't get the 8th rock beat across to them ANY OTHER WAY!

If your student is playing along with recordings by now, and using the bass drum occasionally, then they are ready to tackle some of the other important beat and/or roll patterns.

You'll break the next lessons down to about the same process we've used here.

In order for the student to eventually gain the ability to analyze then play ANY song, they'll need to eventually learn ALL the other important beat and roll patterns of my (totally free) complete 125-lesson course, one-at-a-time, in much the same way we've done it here.

With each beat or roll that is taught, the process gets easier and easier!

Usually, by the time the student has progressed through all 5 Basic Dancebeats and a few of the, primary fills and rolls , They'll begin catching-on a lot quicker. Very often, I've noticed that a lot of 5 or 6 year-old students can learn at about the same rate of speed as the older students . . . (Once we have them playing along with recorded music for the enjoyment of it.)

So . . . If your student is ready to move-on, go to the following web page at the main site and proceed, in easy stages, as we've done it here.

I'd recommend that you (the teacher) should go to the following lesson, first. Learn the mechanics of Reading Drum Notation. Use common sense here. If you feel your student may not grasp the concepts of reading notation, then you should not try to force that lesson on to the student. Each student may be different. Use your own best judgements on this issue.

Just the same . . . "YOU" will need that knowledge (Reading Drum Notation), in order to break the future lessons down, and teach them in the same way we've just done it here.

Teach each of the upcoming beats and rolls in the same way we've just done this one. Vary your simplifications 'as needed' for your particular student. Learn to judge the learning speed and ability of the student, then simplify the lessons to whatever degree might be necessary.

At the very bottom of the 'Reading Drum Notation' lesson, you'll find a link that leads to the next suggested lesson. Actually, you'll find links like that, scattered throughout many of the early lessons of the free drum course. Great! That means more and more 'hammock time'! 
What could possibly be wrong with that?

Have fun with it!

The next lesson link (below), has been designed to help . . . only if our student is having serious problems, after we've tried everything above. If your student STILL can't repeat the 8th rock beat, then click this next link.

Devote as much time as you deem necessary, to these VERY SIMPLIFIED, COORDINATION EXERCISES.

DO NOT resort to this next lesson unless it is absolutely necessary! This next stuff may be totally boring for both you, and the student. It may not be needed at all!

LAST RESORT! Extremely Simplified Coordination Exercises, designed to help ONLY those who cannot seem to master the techniques explained on this page.


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