Drum with Kids Using Floor Drums
Posted in Guides And Tips
Although there is no universal formula of how to drum with kids, here are some suggestions that help you get rolling. Drumming together with your kid deepens your relationship, makes fun, develops your rhythmic sense, your rough and fine motor behavior, your sensibility of movement and feeling, and the strengthened networking between your cerebral hemispheres.All these improvements can take place naturally, just by doing and playing!
Developing your human and musical abilities by playing on a regular basis will truly rise your self esteem, wether you are a musician or a non musician. Indeed, if you call yourself unmusical, you will be stunning about what you are really able to do at drumming. So many mothers in baby drum circles were delighted: Wow, I did´t know I can do this!
Drumming on the Floor
I recommend playing the REMO Kid Drums and Buffalo Drums. Kids like to play on the floor, and Remo Kid drums are definitely built to be played there. If you have enough space, they can run around, and no drum will go flying.
When I drum with kids, I use to sit cross-legged on the floor, so that I can reach any drum standing around me with both hands easily. It also works great putting a pillow or a meditation-seat under your behind, if you do not like sitting directly on the floor. What do I play? Imagine you have just bought and unwrapped a brand new drum, and put it on the floor. What would you do? Aren't you keen on testing the sound? So do this! And if you have got more drums, test them one by one.
How does it sound when you play with a mallet, with the palm or with your fingers? How does it sound beating the center of the playing surface? The edge? Is there a difference in the sound when you play them loudly or softly? There is a lot to discover for the first few sessions, without having to drum any special rhythms or beats…If your child is generally active, it will probably do all the things described above, and much more.
Toddlers will start climbing on them. It is just playing. Maybe you want to imitate your kid, or maybe you just want to gladly watch your child playing, or you imitate the first beats. Yes, it is that simple. Less is more! If your kid wants to observe things first, you can stick to testing the sounds. Or you begin to play a simple pulse or rhythm.
H E L P ! I am hopelessly unmusical, I cannot drum!
Whether you are aware of it or not: You make rhythm every day. You go. You breathe. Your heart beats. And I guess that you have hammered a nail into a wall, at least once in your life. Now imagine you hammer this nail endlessly into the floor. Maybe you will do this beating a little more softly on your drum, and if you haven’t got a mallet, beat with your hand. You can call this “hammered” beating a pulse.
Congratulations, this is your first drum lesson! No matter if you can hold the tempo or not: play as long as you want. a minute, 20 minutes… If you keep drumming on a regular basis, This simple pulse provides the best structure for your kids when they make the first steps creating rhythms. Again, less is more!If you are a musician: If you like to play a rhythm, do it. Do it for your own joy, do not make a show. And know when it is time to hold back.Generally it is a good way to make polarities: Inspire (play for yourself) and listen (observe the kid, imitate, give room). As the kid develops in playing rhythms, build a structure with a pulse, where the kid can rely on and always come back to if it has fallen out of the rhythm.
Drum for yourself.
It is very important that you do not have any expectations, like the child should play (now), no matter how old it is. I never expect the kids in my drumming circles anything to do. Above all I try to feel good at everything I´m going to do, weather it is drumming, being silent, listening, singing, dancing or moving and to enjoy company with them.
A simple played pulse, Bum Bum Bum Bum … often is the most beautiful music to me, cause the drum sounds great by itself, and played for a longer time it has an incredible power for relaxing and becoming fully present. Sometimes I put a mallet into their hand or a drum under their hands, but most of the time they start drumming, touching and feeling the drums, dancing, singing or telling stories by themselves. Honor the present moment! Drumming together with your kid, there is one perfect rule:
Honor the present moment as it appears.
When your child watches you drumming or just watches the drums, that´s good! Babies, toddlers, children, they are inquisitive by nature, and it depends on the child, how long it wants to observe and just to listen, before it tries it´s first steps on drumming. It happens that children start playing drums or climbing on them immediately. In my baby drumming sessions I observed babies who felt good at observing things and listening to the music for three sessions or more!
Buffalo Floor Drums
How well do you know your child?
Please take your time! Haste and impatience are very bad companions on your way of drumming together and getting connected. Maybe your kid wants to touch the drum at first. And maybe it´s not the playing surface, but the rest of the drum-body, your child´s hands want to explore at that moment. This very interest has to be satisfied, before your kid will be ready for a new adventure.
Piano Lessons with Carla: just an example
Although this post is not about piano lessons, this short excerpt may help you to understand the importance of meeting the present needs of children making music. I remember Carla´s first piano lesson, when she was five years old: She just wanted to climb onto the top of the piano, and then jump onto the floor. I said OK, let´s do this.
I moved away chairs and bags from her landing place, and she kept climbing and jumping over and over again, for the whole lesson. It was great fun for both of us, I was astonished about her physical stamina. Next lesson she only jumped one time, then she discovered a music stand. She asked me what this is, and I explained it to her, building it up and folding it again. For the second lesson we kept building up and folding that music stand. For the following years Carla was one of those pupils who practiced the piano autonomously.
Being Together is the Goal.
Your child does not want to play at the moment? It keeps watching you or the drums, or it goes around or sits in a corner? What does that mean? Well, you have already achieved a great goal: You are together. Nothing else matters! It does not always have to be anything done or spoken. Look into the eyes of your child. Does it look tired or bored? Probably not. Does it look angry? I can´t imagine. I guess it is astonished in the first session, and keen on watching things in the following few sessions. Being together with this sort of energy is wonderful, and anything else that happens is a great bonus. Let things develop.
They will develop in their own tempo. Your job is to feel good. Arrange the things in a way that YOU feel good. What do you need to feel good at this very moment? Every Child has still Reached for an Instrument by Itself! Please let this heading seep into your mind, and above all: Let your child discover and experience the sound by itself.
Isn't it awesome to watch your child doing things – by itself? Support your kid in it´s individual way of drumming. If it wants to bang the drum with it´s head instead of mallets or hands, so let it happen – and if you feel like, imitate her. Do NOT take your child´s hand for showing how drumming works. Let it observe you drumming, and that may take time.Remember: If you want your child to drum, it is YOUR want.
If you wish to improve the relationship to your kids, learn to recognize and support their present desires and needs.