Please Advise Teaching a 4yr old.

Jake Marshall

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Hi all,
I been substituting teaching a drum lesson for a friends 4yr old student. I think he only had 2 lessons and learned what the drums and cymbals were called. I then worked on doing four taps right then 4 taps left while counting. I'm at a loss to go from there. I don't want to go to fast and get him lost. I've never had to teach a student when reading wasn't involved.
Anybody else been in this situation that could offers some ideas would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS!
Jake
 

stickinthemud

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I think the 13 essential rudiments are a great place to start. He doesn't have to bounce them, just learn the sticking and learn to alternate them.
 

SwivoNut

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Students too young to read words are too young to learn to read musical notation, so reading is out as I'm sure you already knew. It's hard to keep kids that young focused on learning. The minute they think something is more work than fun, they're going to lose interest. Best to just show them some basic beats and have them watch you playing along to recordings, then have them play along to the recordings and pick up whatever they can through osmosis. If nothing else they'll hopefully develop a good sense of timing at an early age which is a very good thing and something that will stay with them even if they lose interest and drop music entirely for now but decide to take it up again when they get older (often times on a different instrument).
 

hardbat

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Back when I was teaching, I had one student who was 5. I didn't treat him any differently than any other student, except that he didn't know how to read words yet. But he learned to read music really quickly. It's a great age to learn to read, since that's when our language learning skills are at their best. I took pride in that he could read music before he could read words. He was a terrific student and became an excellent drummer. As with everyone else, we started with single strokes, double strokes, long roll, paraddiddles, flams, basic reading starting with quarter notes, half notes etc. He was easily distracted but totally trusting and was happy to try anything I gave him to do. Why do you think they start those Yamaha kids so early? :)
 

gwbasley

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hardbat said:
Back when I was teaching, I had one student who was 5. I didn't treat him any differently than any other student, except that he didn't know how to read words yet. But he learned to read music really quickly. It's a great age to learn to read, since that's when our language learning skills are at their best. I took pride in that he could read music before he could read words. He was a terrific student and became an excellent drummer. As with everyone else, we started with single strokes, double strokes, long roll, paraddiddles, flams, basic reading starting with quarter notes, half notes etc. He was easily distracted but totally trusting and was happy to try anything I gave him to do. Why do you think they start those Yamaha kids so early? :)
+++++...that's the way to go!

I get a fair amount of beginners working in a music store. I found that they are like little sponges when it comes to reading. I do it in reverse, at first by teaching them to play something, like a measure of 1/16th notes, and then showing them what it looks like written...they get it right away!
 

Hop

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Hey I'm a big fan of the Joel Rothman books. http://www.joelrothman.com/books.html
Check out the following titles to see if they would be of use to your style of teaching. I'm a huge fan of teaching rhythm first (seems easier to sink into patterns and accenting once those "basics" are understood).

Clap Your Hands: http://www.musictime.com/Shop/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemID=321012
This pocket-size book of 250 pages presents rhythms in 2/4. 4/4, and 6/8 time for you to clap. Good for class or individual instruction on all instruments. For beginner players - $11.96

Teaching Rhythm For All Instruments/ Class or Individual Instruction: http://www.musictime.com/Shop/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemID=321011
Aimed particularly at beginning students on all instruments, but especially drummers, this book is a virtual encyclopedia of clear and easy-to-read rhythms in quarter time and eighth time.
 

gwbasley

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The Rothman books are good, but don't underestimate or be afraid to challenge young students. I have a ten year old in Gary Chester's "New Breed" and playing open handed by himself, that is, without my prompting. I wish I had the same at that age.
 

adamosmianski

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Teaching by rote is a good place to start. Try to get him to alternate sticks, play some double strokes, and maybe some paradiddles.

Once you start reading with him, teach him the phrase first and THEN show him what it looks like. I've had great success this way. Then he's not trying to remember how each beat is divided, etc., etc., he's just learning vocabulary.
 

swarfrat

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My son turns two in a few weeks, and he's already trying anything he sees dad do. I'm learning myself, we do a lot of banging for fun at this age, but he thinks the metronome is fun, tries to keep some sort of time, and he already has an idea of grip and I've seen him attempt bounces in free play after I showed him how, held his hands and did it myself, etc...

I can't really help with direction, but I don't think he's too young to bounce anything he can play with single strokes. If anything, the fun of getting that first roll going motivates towards more practice, even if it's just a cool magic trick. I think it also helps ward off the death grip.
 

Vibes

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I actually had a 4 year old start lessons with me 2 1/2 weeks ago. She is really smart. I first taught her how to hold the sticks, then single stroke LRLR, mama daddy's, LLRR, then para diddle. She picked it up pretty quick. The last two lessons I was teaching her out of a beginning snare drum book on eighth note patterns and explained the R under the note is her right hand and the L under the note is the left.
She was able to stick the measures correctly. LRLL RLRR, etc. slow but correctly. So going to continue that until she is really comfortable.
I also explain whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes to her, and I think she is grasping it.
 

Demonslayer

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Stickinthemud said:
I think the 13 essential rudiments are a great place to start. He doesn't have to bounce them, just learn the sticking and learn to alternate them.
I could not get my student (just turned 6) to learn the paradiddle in two months of weekly lessons. I eventually gave up. He just "played what he heard", instead of trying to nail the pattern.

He didn't care for learning the notes either. After a few months I eventually concluded the kid was at an age/state of mind where he was just not up for doing anything other than have fun with the drums. It was very frustrating for me, but I decided to let him go. A shame cause I think he had lots of potential, but there was not really anything more I could do for him than teaching him how to hold the sticks.
 

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