Should you push to learn how to read music?

czarthedrummer

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I started teaching a 7 year old and I am not sure how I will approach learning new music.

For now I started with basics like:
how to hold sticks
downward stroke
single stroke roll
and a rock beat

I think being able to read music can open more opportunities as a musician but I don't want to overwhelm the kid with a whole new instrument and a whole new language.

I know how to read music because of middle school band but he has five year until he goes into any school band.
 

CSR

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I'd start the idea of measures and beats/measure. Maybe cover quarter notes. See how it does before moving on.

I'd leave the hemiolas, linear two-handed 64th note runs until he's 8.
 

Mongrel

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YES YES YES! Push as hard as possible, back off when necessary. Start simple-but teach the language!

I wish someone would have "pushed" me to read...to write...to UNDERSTAND the language when I was young and learning was almost (almost!) effortless and before the mind was crowded with responsibility.

"Knowledge is power".....

Empower this kid!
 

cworrick

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Piano and string (violin) students start playing AND READING at that age, why not drummers too?

String players learn rhythms and notes and spend a lot of time in their "first position" with songs.
Piano players spend a lot of time with simple rhythms and notes for the first five fingers learning reading and coordination.

Granted they spend A LOT of time on the simple rhythms, but they are also learning line and space note names as well. Drums usually just have rhythms. It can be done. Just don't push a lot at once and don't expect them to be doing speed metal rhythms for a few years.
 

Olderschool

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I'm torn on this.

I play several instruments and value reading music as much as anyone. Having said this, do you know how many times I have needed to read drum music? Never. I have worked pits reading while playing other instruments but even the drummer didn't read because he simply learned the tunes. But I am fully aware that serious pit drummers need to read.

I believe reading is important and should be taught but at that age, I would focus on skills. reading can come in a few years if he is really interested. He will lose the skill anyway, if he doesn't keep iy up.
 

CSR

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Most of the jobs I get are because I can read. I get gigs non-reading drummers don't get and can't do.

Right now, I'm doing a show with an 80-page score. Try memorizing that. At the same time, I'm playing in a big band, concert band, and orchestra. Try doing that as a non-reader.
 

Olderschool

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CSR said:
Most of the jobs I get are because I can read. I get gigs non-reading drummers don't get and can't do.

Right now, I'm doing a show with an 80-page score. Try memorizing that. At the same time, I'm playing in a big band, concert band, and orchestra. Try doing that as a non-reader.
I get ya CSR...and hopefully you read that I understand the importance of reading but as a 7 year old kid that may like drums?Did you read drum charts at 7 years old? Just curious, not being condescending. I dunno...IMO, at that age there are a lot more things to focus on like skills, rudiments, etc... and let him learn his reading skills with real music (not drum scores) on a piano the way it's supposed to be. Then a few years later if he really wants to be a pit drummer, it will be an easy transition. But let's be honest.....how many kids are going to play music that one can even find drum charts for?
 

CSR

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Olderschool, if you go back and read my first post, I suggested a very basic kind of reading. More complicated reading would come later, if the child was interested.

I don't believe the ability to read holds drummers or other musicians back, but the reverse is certainly true. It certainly would help in learning new rhythms, transcribing from recordings, and transmitting to others exactly what you're trying to express.

It's better to be able to read fluently, and not always do it than needing to and not being able. IMHO.
 

loach71

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CSR said:
Most of the jobs I get are because I can read. I get gigs non-reading drummers don't get and can't do.

Right now, I'm doing a show with an 80-page score. Try memorizing that. At the same time, I'm playing in a big band, concert band, and orchestra. Try doing that as a non-reader.
&

I agree. Reading / sight reading are ESSENTIAL skills for any working musician.
 

bigbonzo

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Olderschool, of course you don't start reading charts as a beginner. But, you need to develop those skills along with your others AT THE SAME TIME. That's how I learned, and I believe that's a good way to.

Maybe the kid will join the school band. If he does, he'll HAVE to learn how to read music.

Also, how's the teacher going to convey what he wants the kid to practice if the kid can't read music

READING IS VERY IMPORTANT.

My younger brother started playing guitar at 7 years old. He started to learn to read music, AND play the guitar. What's the difference?
 

NYFrank

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I don't like the word push, but, yes, it would be totally appropriate to start showing him some simple reading.
 

nanashi

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The beginning is the best time to introduce reading. As far as age, younger is better because they are more open to absorbing new things. Same with language.
 

nanashi

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The beginning is the best time to introduce reading. As far as age, younger is better because they are more open to absorbing new things. Same with language.
 

Olderschool

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bigbonzo said:
Olderschool, of course you don't start reading charts as a beginner. But, you need to develop those skills along with your others AT THE SAME TIME. That's how I learned, and I believe that's a good way to.

Maybe the kid will join the school band. If he does, he'll HAVE to learn how to read music.

Also, how's the teacher going to convey what he wants the kid to practice if the kid can't read music

READING IS VERY IMPORTANT.

My younger brother started playing guitar at 7 years old. He started to learn to read music, AND play the guitar. What's the difference?
The difference is that guitar music is different than drum charts.
Look, I read. I read EVERY week where I play (some level or another). But the OP specifically asked if a 7 year old was worth emphasizing DRUM chart reading over other skills. I say no....others say yes. If I was teaching a 7 year old Piano, guitar, etc... then my logic and response would be totally different. I would emphasize reading for sure. But the fact is for 99% of drummers, reading is not a necessary skill. Certainly not for a 7 year old.
Why? A drummer uses totally different skills and muscle dexterity. Our craft requires more physical coordination and muscle memory than guitarist or piano players (I know, I know they require some too but not as much as drummers). IMO, reading is not as important to drummers because drummers, in the norm, do not require reading skills (I'm sure the flaming will begin by those who do require reading and can't comprehend the reality that I'm discussing normalities and not oddities of those in our craft).
As an example, even to this day at my age, when I want to practice drums to a new song, I listen to the song and away I go. No drum charts are required. And 99% of drummers here are the same. Hell....you are probably the same. But when I want to learn a new song on the piano, guitar, or lap steel the first thing I do is print out the music.
So that's why IMO, I believe developing a 7 year olds rudiments and techniques far outweigh reading drum charts at his age if you only have limited time to practice.
 

nanashi

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The problem here is in the title, Should you push, which implies, learning to read is some major task requiring some major sacrifice, when in fact, it is and always has been a part of learning an instrument. Nothing about learning to play drums changes that. The teachers responsibility is to give the student the best foundation possible, which should include reading, not to decide what is not necessary, based on ones personal experience. Reading should be presented with the same level of importance as holding the sticks, rudiments and what ever else you want to teach. A seven year old is not in a position to know what's important and he nor the teacher is in a position to know where his or her interest may lead, which may be nothing more to be in the school band. Also, even at eighteen, students going on to higher education decide to study percussion. Again, its the teachers job to give the student the best foundation possible. It is easier for younger students to pick up these concepts. The only problem comes when something is presented as a problem. There is no down side to adding reading to the lesson plan. If in the future the student chooses not to use those skills, its his decision, not the teachers.
 

Olderschool

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nanashi said:
The problem here is in the title, Should you push, which implies, learning to read is some major task requiring some major sacrifice, when in fact, it is and always has been a part of learning an instrument. Nothing about learning to play drums changes that. The teachers responsibility is to give the student the best foundation possible, which should include reading, not to decide what is not necessary, based on ones personal experience. Reading should be presented with the same level of importance as holding the sticks, rudiments and what ever else you want to teach. A seven year old is not in a position to know what's important and he nor the teacher is in a position to know where his or her interest may lead, which may be nothing more to be in the school band. Also, even at eighteen, students going on to higher education decide to study percussion. Again, its the teachers job to give the student the best foundation possible. It is easier for younger students to pick up these concepts. The only problem comes when something is presented as a problem. There is no down side to adding reading to the lesson plan. If in the future the student chooses not to use those skills, its his decision, not the teachers.
I do agree with this concept and you bring up great points (even though I may differ on approaching this to drums).

As an example that this topic has no right answer, here is an article from MD where the education team is asked this exact question. Some of them believe it's important and some do not......

http://www.moderndrummer.com/2012/07/necessary-read-music/

Of course if we were discussing any other instrument, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
 

gwbasley

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You don't have to push at all. Young kids, and I teach some as young as 6, are SPONGES! They will amaze you how fast they pick up reading. Those that are good in math, (I ask them), get it even quicker. The same applies to "open handed" playing...the younger they are the easier it is. They don't have any pre-conceived notions about right and left...tell them to do it this way and they will!

I have had older students try to learn to read and they struggle with it.
 

BennyK

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Most kids aren't pushed into playing drums the same way that they are into other instruments, usually symphonic . There's a reason why this kid wants to play drums, an appeal, an attraction if you will .

Find out what that is, ask the student to bring an example to class an then show him/her what it looks like notated . Better still, play the beat or piece for the student yourself and let them decide if you are in the right teacher for them .
 

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