Should I Buy a Toddler Drum Set, or a Practice Pad?

When Is It Time To Buy My Toddler A Drum SetWe’ve all seen those adorable YouTube viral videos of toddler prodigies wailing away on the drums. If your child has expressed an interest in learning to play the drums, you should know your options before getting too excited!

There are many different ways to get your child started on a lifetime of musical enjoyment playing the drums. From a toddler drum set to practice pads to the latest silent (or low volume) electronic drum kit, you can encourage your child’s interest until he or she is ready to begin formal study. Let’s examine the best ways to encourage your child and a few options for getting him or her started!

First Steps – Before Age 5

If your child has expressed an interest in the drums, but is still too young to study formally (under 5 or 6), you might consider purchasing a toddler drum set. A basic toddler drum set can be found starting at under $100 and typically consists of a kick drum with pedal, snare, tom-tom, a cymbal, and drum sticks.

While it’s not a “professional” or even considered a student drum set, it’s a valuable learning toy that exposes your child to the fun side of music. You can easily find them online or in stores like Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

Most of us remember some basic music from our schooling. At the very least, you can show your child how to hit the drum and count along. Drumming will work to develop your child’s hand-eye coordination. There are plenty of instructional videos online that you can view to learn some basic rhythms that you can then share with your child.

In the beginning stages, the best way to encourage your child is to express positive reinforcement. As a parent, any way that you encourage your child musically is fantastic! Try listening to music with him or her and point out the drums in particular. Mimic the rhythm you hear together. At this stage your child may view the instrument as just a toy to be played with. That’s ok — just keep it fun and make it a game. Try not to push them too hard. Encourage your child to just explore and have fun with it!

Formal Training – Age 5 and Up

As your child gets a little older, there are many qualified teachers that can begin a more formal, targeted education. Many teachers specialize in working with younger children, which is important for keeping your child engaged.

At this stage, it’s probably time to retire the toddler drum set and invest in some practice pads. Your child’s teacher will most likely begin working with him or her on proper technique, how to hold the sticks and strike the drum, basic rhythms, and so on. Encourage your child to practice and prepare for each lesson.

In the beginning you’ll probably be fine with a set of practice pads, but as your child progresses, the next step up is a basic “junior” drum set. This can cost around $150 and up depending on the number of different parts (i.e. types of drums, cymbals, etc.) and the quality of the kit. Your child’s teacher can help you figure out exactly what you’ll need, and how much you should spend.

The Importance of Maturity

Keep in mind that the guidelines above are very general. You know your child better than anyone else. If he or she is showing a genuine interest in learning to play the drums, you may want to start with formal lessons sooner rather than later. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are considering private drum lessons:

  • Is your child developed enough physically to play the drums? Are his or her motor skills developed enough to hold and operate a drumstick?
  • How is your child’s attention span? Can he or she sit still and listen to a teacher for 30 minutes (the typical length of beginning lessons)?
  • Is your child ready socially? Does he or she understand the importance of listening to a teacher?
  • Is there a genuine interest or desire to take music or drum lessons?

If you answered yes to these questions, then your child might be ready to begin a formal education now! A good teacher will inspire, nurture, and fuel your child’s desire to learn music. The gift of music is one of the most precious gifts that you can give your child, and something he or she will remember forever!


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Photo by Mike Schmid

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