OK. You've acquired a drum set (or practice rig) that's small enough for your pre-school child. You've set it up. You've taught the youngster to listen and feel, the backbeat flow of every song that crosses their ears.
If you click the links below, remember to click the BACK BUTTON when you are ready to return to this document. There won't be any return links at the (online) web page below.
Maybe you've devoted another two or three minutes to Holding the Sticks, and kicking the Pedals. You may have even dealt with the 'Southpaw' issue, if it exists. It really shouldn't exist, since the child is so young. The odds are good that you can teach the full right-handed approach.
If they learn, the 'right-handed' way, they should always remain right-handed, thus avoiding all the unnecessary confusion that goes with that. Anyway . . . that topic is also covered on the above linked page, as well. See that lesson if you have any curiosities about those things.
You'll love this part!
Walk out of the room, and tell the child to play and have fun. Let the kid bang away at his/her heart's content. Encourage them to just plow into the drum set their own way. Allow them to have a ball!
After all . . . the kid sees that drum set as a SUPER TOY!
That's exctly what we want! We want that drum set to remain in the 'toy' category forever, as far as the child is concerned. If he/she sees it as a toy, we probably won't ever have much trouble getting them to practice, and play.
Try it these two ways . . .
Leave the room, and grab your favorite brew, from the fridge. Pop the lid, and head for the hammock, or lawn-chair, in the yard. Get as far away as you dare.
Get accustomed to teaching this way. You'll be doing it THIS way, 90% of the time.
Isn't it great to be a teacher? Now you know my best kept secret! This is the REAL REASON I became a career teacher, haha!
Seriously though . . . it's true! Every second you can get your child to bang and flail away, is a second gained, when it comes to developing coordination. All that aimless banging and flailing is good!
The child is building delicate muscles every time he or she hits any drum.
They're also learning to trust their own instincts! They're USING THEIR OWN IMAGINATION, at creating their own ideas, and rhythms too.
All of that is very, very important!
Drumming is largely a 'creative' endeavor. Creating our own individual rhythmic ideas, is half the fun. That's really what it is all about! Creativity BEGINS in the imagination!
So . . . Let the child be in charge! Don't worry too much about what it sounds like right now. I'm certain it sounds great to them, and that's what really counts the most!
Before leaving the room, point at the bass drum pedal. Tell them to hit it too! They'll need to learn to press on the bass pedal, and strike that drum as well. Be CERTAIN they are pressing the bass pedal with the RIGHT-FOOT! Tell them it's important . . . then back away.
NOTE: The left-foot (hi-hat) isn't as important, in the beginning. We drummers tend to keep the Hi-hat closed most of the time anyway. We'll train and develop the left-foot later. Right now . . . it's almost too much to worry about, so don't.
But . . . DO coax the child to use the right-foot (bass drum) as much as possible. It's very important to develop the delicate (right) leg and foot muscles too. The development is occurring each time they connect that pedal and make the beater-ball hit the bass drum head.
If the child is having trouble making the pedal connect . . . check the springs on the pedal. The springs on the pedal may be adjusted too tightly. Loosen and adjust those springs in such a way that makes it easiest for the child to get a sound, each time they press the pedal.
Also; Occasionally coax the child to push harder and harder. Then . . . back away. It's often VERY DIFFICULT for the smaller children to accomplish this, in the beginning. Those muscles will develop as they play, and have fun. We'll be tackling this very common problem in the upcoming lesson(s).
OK! YOUR BREAK IS OVER!
GET OUT OF THAT HAMMOCK!
After giving our young tyke a little time to get familiar with the set, maybe we should now give them a few 'coordinating projects' to occupy a little more of their attention.
Once we've allowed them ample time to just PLAY and HAVE FUN, we will want to focus on an ultimate objective, then follow a specific path towards reaching that objective. Expect this to take some time.
WHAT'S OUR OBJECTIVE?
Our objective is to eventually teach our pre-schooler to repeat the 8th rock beat at super human tempos (speeds.) This, in most cases, will take some doing. It will often consume up to 3 or 4 months, with most kids at age 5! Maybe longer! Remember this and expect it!
Sure! I've dealt with a very limited 'few' kids who have learned to play the 8th rock beat on the very first day, but that was only on very rare occasions. Do not expect that to happen! If it does happen, it's a plus . . . but it problably will NOT happen.
Three-months tends to be more like the average, NORMAL, amount of time we need to expect, as we're headed into this daunting task. Be prepared to push your own 'patience-level' to the max! You'll be needing a lot of 'hammock time', as we tackle this project.
Be ready for that! It's a tough job, haha!
We must remember that we're dealing with a kid that possibly just learned to walk and talk, a year or so ago. Don't ever forget that!
We need to accept that we're dealing with a 'normal attention span' of maybe 10 seconds or less! If we do not keep these, very normal, and very natural, facts in mind, our possibilities at suceeding will be extremely limited.
We'll be injecting very short, ten-second lessons, over a period of many weeks and maybe several months. Kids will need a LOT more time to learn on their own, without us baggering them. That equates to a LOT of Hammock-time for us teachers.
FIRST . . .
"YOU", the teacher will need to learn to repeat the 8th rock beat at super-human speeds. You should give it a try right now; Then (click the back button and) return to this page, once you get the hang of it. Teach yourself to play the 8th rock beat, now! It may take "YOU" ten or fifteen minutes!
Are you doing it yet? Can you repeat the 8th rock pattern and can you recognize it in the music you hear around you every day?
If not . . . Don't worry! The next lessons will lead you there . . . at the same level we'll be taking with your pre-school child. You'll surely get the hang of it this way . . . BEFORE THEY DO!
(Haha . . . If that doesn't happen: Don't quit your day job.)
You'll get it as we go! Don't panic!
This NEXT PAGE, will break the 8th rock beat down into VERY easy steps. It's designed to build the needed cordinating, and concentration abilities, into almost anyone. Click on the next lesson, even if you don't think you are ready yet.
You ARE ready!
SEVERAL, EASY, 10-SECOND, COORDINATION EXERCISES,
(Designed for kids, ages 3 and above.)
These short (10 second) exercises (on the linked page above), are specifically designed for pre-school-aged kids, and their pathetically-spastic, and/or rhythmically-challenged, parents. :)