Cy-Fair Music and Arts in Houston has a great drum lesson program. Key to the program's success has of course been high-quality drum instruction. But beyond that, parents of drum students also play a crucial role in ensuring that their children succeed on the instrument. If you're currently a paren of a drum lesson student or if you're considering enrolling in drum lessons, here are some tips on how to help your child get the most out of drum lessons.
It’s one thing to encourage and support your budding musicians if they’re taking guitar or piano lessons, since you probably recognize their practice tunes. But what if your children are drum students? Especially beginner drum students?
Unless you have drumming experience yourself, you’re less likely to know what they’re learning to do and how it will sound when they’ve mastered it. But even if you don't understand the instrument, you can nevertheless be a major player in your children’s success!
So, how can you support your children in drum lessons? Here at Cy-Fair Music and Arts, we’ve been teaching drums for over 20 years. We teach beginners, intermediate drum students, as well as advanced drummers. Regardless of skill level, any drum student may benefit from the following tips:
What Equipment Does a Drum Student Need? And Do You Really Need a Full Drum Set?
There are a few factors to consider, including the type and condition of the equipment, the practice space, and their practice schedule. We also have a great tip for you on how to keep drum students stimulated outside of their lessons.
Parents often ask us if a full drum set is really necessary … won’t a single drum and perhaps cymbals suffice? Our short answer is NO, but if you’re concerned about affordability, read on and we’ll talk about the electric drum kit which is considerably less expensive and a lot quieter!
A basic drum set can include 6+ pieces, whether it’s electric or acoustic. So why does a beginner drum student need a full drum set? Think of it this way. Every instrument contains multiple parts … an electronic mini piano has at least 44 keys, a guitar has 6-12 strings, and a saxophone has 24 padded keys.
Every single one of the 6 pieces of a drum set is necessary. Could your beginner piano student do well with a piano that had only 24, 30, or 43 keys? Ha! It’s the same with drums.
Should Your Drum Student Purchase an Electric Drum Set or Acoustic?
Now that we’ve solved that issue, your next question might be if the drum set should be acoustic or electric. The answer to that is quite subjective because it depends on your circumstances. Electric drum sets (kits) are less expensive and far quieter. They are also more mobile and easily stored.
Instead of actual drums, the kit contains computerized rubber pads which are arranged in the same way as an acoustic drum set. Just like an electronic piano, when the kit is plugged into an amplifier, speaker, or a pair of headphones, it sounds very close to an acoustic set.
The caveat is that you can turn down the volume or, with headphones, reduce it to almost nothing. So, if you are concerned about the considerable noise of acoustic drums, this might be a good option for you.
But if affordability and sound are not an issue? We suggest going for an acoustic drum set. In the long run, exclusively playing an electric drum kit could create bad habits.
Bad habits can be created because a rubber pad reacts differently from an acoustic drum or cymbal. Practicing an instrument is, indeed, a process of creating habits. So, your drummer may be creating habits that may not be effective on acoustic drums. Presuming that your budding drummer is looking forward to performing (and we’ve never met a drummer yet who just wanted to play in the closet), he or she needs to have plenty of acoustic experience.
The Practice Space for Beginner Drum Lessons
Do beginners need different practice space from their more advanced friends? That depends on you. If you’d like to have your child nearby so you can encourage her, then by all means do it.
No matter what level your drum student is, the equipment could also help determine where the practice space should be. An electric drum kit is virtually silent except for the sound of the drumstick hitting rubber, but an acoustic drum kit is a thrasher. (Spoken like a mom).
As with all practice space, it should be away from any family chaos and – even though it’s noisy itself – in a place where your child can concentrate.
Drums as a Means of Communication
Drums played a major role in medieval and Renaissance Europe. The snare drum and its relatives were used in the infantry to send coded instructions to soldiers.
Drums were also used in Africa and India to send messages over long distances between villages. Africans brought this tradition with them when they were brought to America as slaves in 1700 – 1800. In fact, drums were banned by slave masters out of fear that they could be used as a secret means of communication.
The Modern Drum Set – Ingenuity and Creativity Continued
Fast forward to early twentieth century New Orleans, where the modern drum kit was assembled by jazz drummers using classical instruments.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of drums and drumming. Your beginning drummer is joining a cultural tradition, and knowing about that can bring new meaning to her musical journey.
We all want our children to be successful and happy, and your enthusiasm and support in drum lessons can make a big difference.
To sign up for Drum Lessons a Cy-Fair Music and Arts, call us at (281) 855-8855!