It’s the inevitable question proposed by many children when first exposed to music at school — “can I play the drums?” As a parent, you’re forced to either deal with the noise and encourage musical exploration, or say no (thankfully, mine said yes).
The thought of drums to some parents is a nightmare, I’m sure.
However, even if you’re in the yes camp as my parents were, picking a drum set for your child is very complicated.
There’s different sized drums, drum heads, drum sticks, beaters, cymbals, thrones, pedals, hardware — all things I’m sure you’re knowledge is most likely limited.
Fear not, as I’ve composed an epic list of drums perfect for your child, no matter their age (all components included). I even extensively interviewed my parents to recall their buying process when they got me my first drum set.
Let’s get into the kits for kids!
Table of Contents
- The Best Drum Sets For Kids at a Glance
- Our Junior Drum Set Reviews
- Which is the Best Overall Drum Set for Kids?
- Common Questions Regarding Junior Drum Sets
- Should You Buy an Electronic Kit or an Acoustic Kit?
- What Size Kit Should I Get My Child?
- What is a Shell Pack?
- Will My Child Need a Drum Kit to Take Lessons?
- What Does “Number of Pieces” Mean?
- What Are The Different Pieces of My Child’s Drum Set?
- Where To Find a Used Junior Drum Set?
- What Age Should My Child Begin the Drums?
- Things to Consider as a Parent
- Make Sure Your Child Is Actually Interested In Drumming
- Understand The Age Group Junior Drum Sets Are Meant For
- Learning a Musical Instrument Takes Patience
- Maintenance is a big deal
- Understanding technical drum terminology
- Some assembly is required with junior drum kits
- Basic Drum Tuning Tips for Kids
- When To Upgrade The Cymbals on a Junior Kit
- Additional Drumsticks for My Child’s Drum Kit
- Other Considerations with Children and Drumming
- 1) Playing Drums is Great for Your Brain
- 2) Get the correct size for the correct age
- 3) Avoid Toy Drums (If Your Child is Older)
- 4) Not All Children’s Drums are Created Equal
- 5) Drum Lessons are Very Beneficial
- 6) Introduce Your Child to Notable Musicians to Inspire
- 7) Start Your Child Off with a Snare Drum Only
- 8) There’s No Wrong Way to Set Up a Drum Set
- 9) Drums are Very Loud
- 10) Try Drumming Apps
- Percussion for Toddlers
The Best Drum Sets For Kids at a Glance
I believe the Ludwig Junior Drum Set is by far the best drum kit for kids under ten years old. The drums sound great for a starter kit, everything your little one needs to play is included, and it comes from a very reputable brand.
For kids a little older, I highly suggest going with the Pearl Roadshow—a kit they will grow into and play for years.
|Best Available||Pearl Roadshow||
|Runner Up||Ludwig Backbeat||
|Budget Pick||Ludwig Pocket Kit||
Our Junior Drum Set Reviews
Before we get started, I wanted to stress, there are two sizes of kits you can buy: junior and full-size. Junior kits are more suited to children 10 and under while full-size are intended for those 10 and up.
Best Choice 5-Piece Drum Set
Best Drum Set for Older Kids 10+
The Best Choice kit is a perfect introductory drum set for those with children who are a little bit older (10 and up). Great value and sound for the price.
The Best Choice kit is one potential option for your child. This is a full-sized drum kit, so I recommend this kit if you believe your child will grow into this drum kit (10+ years old).
While it is our favorite and we believe it’s the best value, your child may have a tough time reaching the kick drum and hi-hat pedals if they are very young or shorter than five feet tall.
- Decent hardware
- No costly risk if child quits
- No-name brand
- Cheaper drums
- Terrible-sounding cymbals
To learn more or to buy the Best Choice five-piece drum kit, check it out at Amazon.com (affiliate).
The Best Choice Brand
Best Choice has a gigantic variety of products available—everything from seasonal decor to fitness equipment. The drum set will not impress anyone (I’d argue it’s the worst on the list), however, it will provide a tenacious player the opportunity to try the instrument before spending a lot more money on expensive drum shells and cymbals.
At the time of writing this, I see black as the only finish Best Choice offers on this drum set for kids.
Some users of this product have experienced the wrap bubbling and warping in the first few months of use.
Others have noted that parts and cymbals have been missing when shipped. We also have heard that kits sometimes are damaged upon arrival.
If this happens to you, be sure to get in contact with Best Choice and I’m sure they can help you out. Despite the quality control issues, I still believe this is a great starter drum set.
What comes in the box?
This drum kit does not come pre-assembled, so you will have to set it up.
The Best Choice 5-piece drum set includes:
- Kick drum pedal
- Snare stand
- Tons of tension rods and lugs
- Floor tom legs
- Cymbal stand
- Hi-hat stand
- Snare drum
- Drum throne
- Tom drums
This drum set will get your child playing fast without the hassle of having to buy extra stands and cymbals.
When you unpack the kit, be sure to keep everything tidy. There also will be cardboard packaging on this interior walls of the 23″ bass drum. Be sure to remove these pieces, as they provide no purpose.
The drums themselves don’t sound that great, but that’s to be expected at this level of youth drum sets. You aren’t going to get an amazing sounding drum set that Phil Collins records his next record with. Like I had mentioned before, this is the full-sized youth drum set. If your child is very young and/or very small, you may want to consider buying a smaller kit, as I mentioned before.
It might be possible for them to grow into this full-sized kit, but you may be better off getting this beginner drum set when they are ready.
My conclusion — I recommend your child be at least 10 years old for this drum set, due to size. It’s a great introductory kit for a beginner!
Mendini 3-Piece Kids Drum Set
The Mendini Junior kit is ideal for little drummers (ages 6-12) who aren’t ready for a full-sized set. Includes everything they need to get playing.
The Gammon Junior kit originally discussed here is no longer available—we recommend going with the Mendini junior kit.
Comparative to the adult drum set, this one (affiliate) is much smaller and will accommodate children between the ages 6-12.
The included cymbals that come with both of these beginner drum sets (and most on this list) are really, really terrible. If that’s not a concern for your child and it’s more of an educational toy, by all means, stick with what you get. For your child’s first drum set, the quality of the drums isn’t too important, but just be aware as they grow and learn, they should move beyond this drum set.
If you want to get a bit better sound from the cymbals, I suggest upgrading. Take a minute and check out our favorite cymbal packs.
PDP Player Junior Drum Kit
Awesome Quality from PDP
The PDP Player kit includes five drums — a bass drum, snare drum, two rack toms, a floor tom, crash cymbal, hi-hats, a small stool, and all the necessary hardware.
I love PDP — it’s a subsidiary company of DW, also known as Drum Workshop. They’re one of my favorite drum manufacturers.
The Player 5-piece kit is a perfect option for younger beginning drummers. PDP’s kit includes everything your child needs to get to playing: sticks, cymbals, hardware, and of course, the drums.
The biggest downside? The PDP Player is one of the more expensive junior drum sets, unfortunately. You’re partly paying for the brand name and the quality.
Mendini Kids Youth Drum Set by Cecilio
More Affordable than Gammon
Mendini’s five-piece junior drum kit is a bit more affordable than the Gammon and sounds surprisingly good when tuned up properly.
The Mendini 5-piece kids drum kit is also a fantastic choice for beginning drummers. It comes with everything included in the box: sticks, cymbals, hardware, kick pedal, and an adjustable seat.
One thing to note with this kit is the snare drum size. It is much smaller than the Gammon drum set.
This may the reason to pick this junior kit if they are much younger. It will be easier for them to reach the other drums and cymbals.
- Affordable kit
- Decent drums
- Poor lug design
- Bad hardware
For a junior drum set, you actually do get a lot of color choices. The Mendini drum set comes in six different finishes: black, blue, green, silver, wine red, and bright red.
Each drum only contains four lugs, meaning the tuning will not be as accurate on this drum set.
You will not get as great of a sound compared to the Gammon drum set.
Because you want tuning to be as even as possible at each tension rod around the drum, having more lugs does contribute largely to getting a great sound.
The price point on this drum set is lower, and this may be one of the corners they cut to reduce the cost of manufacturing.
What comes in the box?
Just like all the kits on this list, the Mendini 5-piece kids drum set comes with everything your child needs to get playing:
- Kick pedal
- Drum stool
The toms ship with the heads already pre-installed, but you will have to assemble the floor tom and kick drum.
If I had to choose between the Mendini and the Gammon, my pick would be the Gammon.
Having the larger youth drum set offers your child a the chance to grow into, as well as play a kit that will last much longer.
The Gammon will sound better in comparison to the Mendini, in my opinion, if both are tuned properly.
This video here however, shows an excellent player making a strong case for the Mendini This kit actually sounds pretty good!
Something I found interesting, is that there is actually another company named Ashthorpe who sells the exact same junior drum set. It’s most likely mass manufactured in China and companies in the US are just slapping their brand name on.
Now I can’t know for sure, but I think these two are the exact same product.
My conclusion — it’s a great sounding kit for those just beginning drumming! I recommend it to those between three to six years of age.
Ludwig Junior Outfit Kids Drum Set
Excellent Quality from Ludwig
Incredible sound and value from a kids drum set. The Ludwig kit makes an excellent first drummer’s set.
We’ve finally reached the point in this list of our first big name drum manufacturer: Ludwig. This is an amazing kids drum set, but only if you know 100% that they are committed to playing the drums.
I say this, because I knew many kids growing up around me who started playing drums, only to quit a year later.
Founded by William F. & Theobald Ludwig in 1909, Ludwig is standard when it comes to drums and percussion. If your little one is serious, this kit may be an excellent option.
Famous drummer Ringo Starr of The Beatles played Ludwig drums. For those unaware, he is one of the best drummers of all time.
The build quality on the Ludwig kit is much better than the previous examples.
Do not let that deter you from buying a cheaper drum for your child if you want to “test the waters,” so to say.
Ludwig has also been kind enough to package everything your little one needs to start playing the drums. You get sticks, a drum throne, the drums, cymbals, and a kick pedal. The hardware design is fantastic.
The Ludwig drum set comes in three finishes: wine red, blue, and black. The choices are limited, but aesthetics don’t have anything to do with sound quality.
What comes in the box?
- 16″ bass drum
- 8″ and 10″ mounted toms
- Floor tom
- Snare drum
- Kick pedal
Unlike the Mendini, the Ludwig offers more tension rods and lugs, allowing for greater flexibility and accuracy when tuning the drum heads.
Like most of the kits on this list, the tuning is going to make the biggest impact on how good these drums will sound for your child. If you take a little time to understand how tuning works, you can make your kids drum set sound quite nice.
My conclusion: I love Ludwig; it’s a win in my book. Recommended for 5 and under.
Rockjam Junior Kids Drum Set
Not Our Favorite Junior Kit
Rockjam’s kit for kids comes in a three or five-piece configuration. I believe it’s the worst kit on the list, but it deserves a mention still.
The RockJam RJ105-BK junior drum set is another affordable option for the entry-level child drummer. This kit comes in either a 5-piece configuration or 3-piece.
It’s absolutely my least favorite kit on the list, but I figured I’d include it since it could be great for a very young drummer.
There aren’t many color options with this kit, as you can only choose between glossy black, red, or blue.
What comes in the box?
Again, it includes all the necessary pieces to get your child playing: sticks, cymbals, metal hardware, kick pedal, and of course the drums.
Like the Mendini, there is one drum that will require assembly upon opening the box.
The sound isn’t great. This is our least favorite kid drum set. Having the option of only buying a three-piece kit is nice, but I would opt for the 5-piece nine times out of ten.
The drums also feature only four tension rods, minimizing the accuracy of your tuning ability.
You won’t be able to get that great of a sound out of this drum kit. This drum set for kids is definitely more of a toy than anything.
I suggest the three-piece kit if your child is younger than five years of age. This gets them playing and introduces them to the idea of playing drums.
The quality of this drum set is not going to be up the level of the Ludwig Junior kit, but is an excellent affordable option for a starting drummer.
My conclusion: don’t buy this for your child. I believe this is the worst junior drum set on our list.
Our Favorite Kit for Older Kids
The Pearl Roadshow is by far our favorite drum set for kids. Pearl has been a big name for drums for many years and the quality is here.
The Pearl Roadshow makes our list at number one.
This youth drum set is more expensive than the other cheap kid’s drum sets, but it has the best quality and value on the market.
To be clear, this is a full-sized drum set, so beware if you’re child is young.
You’ll be spending a bit more money on this kit. They better play it!
The Pearl Roadshow kit comes in different configurations including jazz, fusion, and rock.
If your child is entering middle school, has taken drum lessons, or shows an extreme interest in playing drums, then this is the kid’s drum set for you.
What are shell configurations?
When you buy this drum set, you’ll have the option to pick between what are called shell configurations.
A shell configuration is just a fancy word for the sizes of the drums.
A drum shell is the main part of the drum. It’s what gives the drum its tonality.
Drums can either come as wooden plies glued together or metal that is created with a cast mold.
What comes in the box?
The Pearl Roadshow comes in one big box. Similar to the other kits on the list, an assembly is required.
The drum heads are shipped separately from the shells to reduce shipping size.
The small tom will come pre-assembled, so you can use that as a guide when installing the other drum heads.
Included is as follows:
- Stick bag
- Drum throne
- 16″ crash
- 14″ hi-hats
All the hardware is of extremely high quality and the drums sound fantastic.
This drum set will last your child or young drummer for many years to come. The shells are 9-ply white poplar, a very popular wood choice for drum shells. 🙂
The shell quality alone of the beginner drum kit can make the price justifiable. This is by far the greatest sounding set on the list.
You could easily record these shells at a studio and get a great sounding recording!
The cymbals aren’t going to blow anyone away, but they are the best sounding cymbals from any kit on this list!
This drum kit will last your young drummer all throughout adolescence until he or she is ready to purchase their next set. From this point on drum kits do get very expensive.
If you’re looking for this quality level of drum sets, check out my roundup of beginner drum sets!
My conclusion: the best value for the serious player! Pearl’s Roadshow kit is the best junior drum set if your child is over 10 years old and is super serious!
Which is the Best Overall Drum Set for Kids?
In case you missed my pick above, my favorite drum kit for kids out of the bunch is the Ludwig Junior Drum Kit — the brand is well-known and the shells are incredible for a first-time, young drummer.
Common Questions Regarding Junior Drum Sets
Drums are complicated but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Read on to see answers to some common questions regarding junior drum kits.
Should You Buy an Electronic Kit or an Acoustic Kit?
This question is probably the number one asked question by parents when their children show an interest in drumming.
It ultimately depends on your living situation.
If you’re living in an apartment, you’re likely going to have to get an electronic drum kit for your child to play. Even if you live in a house, maybe you can’t tolerate the noise. Drums are very loud.
But if you are in a house and can deal with the noise, I highly recommend your child learning on an acoustic drum set. There’s a feel and nuance to playing real drums, so best to kick them off on the right foot.
Learning on acoustic drums provides a much more solid foundation for when they begin school band or private lessons. Most middle schools and high schools do not have electronic drum sets.
What Size Kit Should I Get My Child?
There’s two sizes of drums you can buy — full-size or junior-size.
Junior kits are much smaller in size and are perfect for smaller kids, around ten years and younger.
If your child were to sit down at a full-sized drum kit, they might have an issue reaching the pedals or hitting the tom drums and cymbals. Full-size drum kits usually feature a 20″ or 22″ bass drum, so it could be far too big for your child.
When you’re child is learning, you want them to be as comfortable as possible while playing, so stick to a junior-sized kit if they’re under ten years old.
What is a Shell Pack?
As you move up into the pricier end of drums, they’re no longer sold as a complete drum sets. Shell packs only include the toms and kick drum — no cymbals, snare drum, or hardware.
Shell packs also usually don’t include a snare drum.
But why, you might ask? Drummers buying the shells alone usually already own hardware and cymbals, and in general, drum manufacturers aren’t cymbal makers.
The good thing about junior kits, is most of them (all I’ve listed here) include everything your child needs to play.
Will My Child Need a Drum Kit to Take Lessons?
If you want, you can start your child on drum lessons before you buy them a set. That’s exactly what my parents did.
I was only allowed the rental snare drum and could only play the full drum set at my lessons and at school. In fact, here’s a photo of me doing just that back in middle school right before I got my first drum set.
It was a good move on my parent’s part, I believe.
What Does “Number of Pieces” Mean?
When you see a drum set listed as a 5-piece or a 3-piece, you only count the number of drums.
The cymbals are not included in the count, so be sure to read thoroughly as to what you are buying.
What Are The Different Pieces of My Child’s Drum Set?
The snare drum is what I consider to be the main and most important drum of them all.
When you clap your hands to a groove, this is the drum you’re emulating.
The snare drum is the backbone of a drum set and provides a sharp, staccato sound when struck.
On the resonant head (bottom), there are stiff wires held under tension against the head.
Snare drums are used in more than just drum sets; they can be heard in orchestras, concert bands, percussion ensembles, symphonic bands, marching bands, and drumlines.
The bass drum is generally the largest drum in a kit. It provides a big, low-end thump, that can really be felt when you’re at a show. Bass drums can also be referred to as kick drums.
The term kick drum originates from studio recording engineers in the 70s, not from orchestra drums that actually were being kicked.
This is a complete, fabricated myth. Although, it does sound like it would be correct.
Some drummers decide to use more than one bass drum, particularly in metal and hard rock.
This was a big phase in the late 70s and 80s during the hair band and metal phases.
Today, most drummers opt for a single kick drum with a double kick drum pedal.
Tom Toms are generally deeper drums that have no snares. They were added to the drum set in the early years of the 1900s.
Most drum fills you are familiar with feature tom drums. In your head, I know you can imagine the drum fill from In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins.
Tom drums are generally between 10 and 18 inches, but drum makers do offer them in smaller and larger sizes. Other types of tom drums include concert toms, rototoms, gong drums, and floor toms.
I personally love the sound of concert toms. These drums feature no resonant head and were very popular with drummers in the late 70s and early 80s, particularly in progressive rock.
Ride cymbals are usually the largest cymbal in a traditional drum setup. The main role of a ride is providing a steady and rhythmic pattern.
Ride patterns in jazz are extremely well-known and will most likely be one of the first things your child learns when taking private lessons.
Ride cymbals are usually placed on the side of the dominant hand, above the floor tom. Some ride cymbals are loud, bright, and pingy, while others are extremely dry and perfect for jazz and bop.
The ride pictured to the left features what are called rivets. You can see them on the right side of the picture.
Rivets are intentionally drilled into the cymbal and give it a sizzle when struck. Sizzle cymbals are popular in jazz and blues music.
The Hi Hat
Hi hats are similar in nature to the bass drum, as they require a foot pedal to operate.
This foot pedal is actually an entire piece of hardware that allows the play to open and close two different cymbals stacked opposite of each other.
Upon using the foot pedal, the hi hat makes a “CHICK” sound. Hi hats were first referred to as “sock” or low-boy cymbals, as they were just a small cymbal mounted to a foot pedal on the floor.
These cymbals are also played with drumsticks and at varying levels of being open and closed, creating either a tight, rhythmic sound or a loud and washy sound.
Playing the hi hat with your foot is very common in jazz music.
Where To Find a Used Junior Drum Set?
If you’re looking for a way to find a drum set on the cheap, consider purchasing a used set of drums.
Guitar Center usually has a decent supply of used gear in their stores.
This is your best bet for finding a quality drum set at a much cheaper price than purchasing one brand new.
Note: stores that carry used drum kits will most likely only have adult-sized drums.
If you like to shop online, you can check Ebay or Amazon. Once you find a drum set you like, click on the listing and scroll down to where you see used & new (y) from $xx.xx and FREE shipping. You generally can find used deals on whatever product you may be interested in.
What Age Should My Child Begin the Drums?
As soon as your child can hold a drumstick, they are ready to start. It truly is amazing how early young ones can learn new things.
There’s really no standardized age for a child to begin learning the drums. In my opinion, when it comes to music and learning an instrument, younger is always better.
Tony Royster Jr is a prime example of this. His father started teaching him drums at the young age of three and he grew to be one of the greatest drummers of our generation. Watch his solo at age 12 here.
Things to Consider as a Parent
With the different kit reviews out of the way, let’s dive into some of the other considerations you should take as a parent.
Make Sure Your Child Is Actually Interested In Drumming
I cannot stress this enough as you don’t want to have a drum set arrive at your door only for you to be the one who is playing it.
With today’s technology, you can use iPhone or Android drum apps to get an idea if your son or daughter would be interested in playing the drums
Understand The Age Group Junior Drum Sets Are Meant For
These types of kids drum sets, as I said above, are intended for children under 10 years of age.
I believe you can start your child as early as three years old with a junior drum kit. But for those with little ones who are a bit younger, read on for some percussion options for toddlers.
Learning a Musical Instrument Takes Patience
Be sure to instill in your child’s head that they need to practice if they want to become better.
One of the greatest benefits of playing drums at a young age is reinforcing a strong work ethic.
This will not only benefit your child as a musician but in all areas of life as they grow into teenagers and adults.
Maintenance is a big deal
As a student of drums, learning how to maintain the drums is just as important as learning how to play them.
Be sure to instill a great sense of work ethic in your child for proper maintenance.
Understanding technical drum terminology
In addition to learning the the different pieces of the drum kit, children learning drums and percussion should quickly familiarize themselves with the following drumming terms.
- Drum Shell — the heart and soul of every drum. If you were to disassemble all the metal hardware from a drum, you’d be left with just the shell: a metal or wooden hoop of varying diameters and lengths.
- Drum Head — the plastic skin that covers the top and bottom (most the time) of a drum. Drum heads are held in place by tension rods and lugs.
- Batter Head — this drum head is the side of the drum you hit with sticks or a mallet.
- Drum Key — a T-shaped tool with a square head; drum keys are used for tuning drums by adjusting tension rods at each lug on a drum. If you’re a parent, I highly suggest taking a minute to read my guide on tuning drums, as you’ll most likely be doing this for your child.
- Ply — Wooden drum shells are made up of multiple layers of wood called
plys. A 7-ply drum shell has 7 layers of wood.
- Drum Set vs Drum Kit — there is no difference; these words mean the same thing.
- Drum Throne — Drum thrones or drum stools are the seats that we drummers sit on when we play. I would suggest staying away from thrones bundled with children’s kits and have many of my favorite suggestions you can read about here.
- Kick Drum vs Bass Drum — Bass drums can also be referred to as kick drums. I wonder if it was because drummers used to physically kick them. Both of these terms mean the same thing.
Some assembly is required with junior drum kits
Many of the drum kits on this list will not come pre-assembled. You’ll need to crafty and follow some directions.
The instructions are simple, but parts can easily be misplaced, so take your time when putting the drums together.
Basic Drum Tuning Tips for Kids
Even if you can’t afford to purchase new drum heads, it’s important to take time to understand how
Your child may not care initially about the sound of the drums, but eventually, they will show an interest in tuning for a better sound.
There are zillions of YouTube videos detailing the process of tuning and how dramatically it can affect the sound of your drums: both for good and for bad.
How to tell if your drum is in tune with itself
Applying even tension across each lug is key to getting a good sound. Your drum head should resonate evenly at every point where there is a tension rod.
To achieve this, a good tip is to hold one finger, index usually works well, in the center of the drum, applying very light tension on the head.
From here, take a drumstick and tap at each tension rod about an inch from the rim. Adjust the tension of each rod so that the pitch across each one is close.
While this practice isn’t very easy, if you are patient and take some time practicing tuning, you’ll get a great sound from each one of your child’s drums.
Should I tune the bottom head higher or lower?
This decision will be ultimately up to you. Some drummers advocate for a higher resonant head and others vice versa.
Tuning the bottom head higher often results in a fatter sound whereas tuning it lower can get you a punchier “jazz” sound, at least for the tom drums.
How to make your child’s drum set sound better
Even though all of the youth drum kits on this list are relatively cheap, you still can make them sound very good with a bit of hard work and a couple of extra purchases.
For the sound of the drums, you’re going to need to buy new drum heads. These can be from Remo, Evans, Attack, the name doesn’t matter as long as it’s a quality brand.
The drum heads that come stock with all of these kits are not going to be great, with the exception of possibly the Pearl Roadshow.
I personally use Remo Emperors on my drums. I find that they have a brighter tone and really cut through different kinds of music.
I don’t particularly like Pinstripes, as I believe that they sound cheap and are too thick.
Be sure to check the sizes of your drum shells prior to purchasing new drum heads, as drums come in many different sizes!
Remove ringing from the drums using dampeners
Drums can sound much better when the overtones or ringing is eliminated from the drums altogether. Many recording engineers swear by dampening the drums.
Certain companies, like Moongel, create a product specifically designed to dampen drums.
A homemade variant of this can be achieved by taking a piece of paper towel and taping it to the edge of a drum head where you generally won’t be playing.
If you’re crafty, have a look at how I make my own drum dampeners for just $2.
When to change the drum heads on your kid’s drum set
You’ll want to change the drum heads on your kit when you notice a couple things: wrinkles or big dents on the heads, holes or split heads, the white coating on the heads vanishes.
While the drum still will operate as normal in most of these situations, the sound will be dramatically worsened over time.
Fortunately, a child playing the drums will unlikely ever be able to pierce the drum heads, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that issue.
For a full breakdown on drum maintenance, be sure to read our guide here.
When To Upgrade The Cymbals on a Junior Kit
If your little drummer wants to sound better when he or she plays, consider upgrading the cymbals.
Generally, cymbals have the most impact to perceived “expensiveness” when hearing a drum set.
I believe this is because when cymbals are bad, they are really bad. Take a minute and check out the best cheap cymbals.
Remember, you don’t need to start out with the most expensive cymbals and drums ever, but if your child ever gets to the point where they would like to sound better when playing, these are two ways you can help them.
Additional Drumsticks for My Child’s Drum Kit
All of the kits I have listed today do come with drumsticks. These aren’t going to be very high quality, but they will work for a start.
If your child does show some interest, I would recommend you buy a brick of drumsticks. You’ll save money and won’t have to buy them again for a long time.
For a young child, I recommend them to play with a thin drumstick – like the Vic Firth 7A. These sticks are much thinner than the standard 5A or 5B, and will be much more comfortable in your child’s hands.
Your child should begin to read sheet music eventually
As a bit of a side note, when your child is learning drums, it’s a good idea to either get them lessons or have them follow an online instructional course.
Understanding drum sheet music is very important to a new drummer and can help set a great foundation as they progress as a player.
Other Considerations with Children and Drumming
Having your child play drums promotes a healthy activity as well as foster a creative mind.
There aren’t too many negatives to learning an instrument and it isn’t relatively expensive to start.
While you may think it’s just a set of drums, you will need to ask yourself a few questions:
Will I be spending a lot of money on a junior kit?
Do I need to replace the plastic drum heads ever?
Do the sizes of the drums matter? You also have to ask yourself if you’re willing to tolerate a loud drum set in your house, or if you’d opt more for an electronic drum set.
1) Playing Drums is Great for Your Brain
I can understand your hesitance to purchase a children’s drum set, as drumming is a very noisy practice.
However, playing drums is incredibly healthy and good for your child’s brain (and even yours if you decided to play).
According to this article by Christiane Northrup, M.D., drumming is an excellent workout activity for your brain, as you’re accessing all of your
She believes that drumming induces a sort of “natural high” by increasing alpha brain waves, as well as synchronizing the lower areas of the brain, creating feelings of positivity, insight and certainty.
The sound of drumming generates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain. The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become. This leads to a deeper sense of self-awareness. – Christiane Northrup, M.D.
While I can’t personally verify the validity of these claims, I can assure you that playing the drums makes me feel great and I’m so happy my parents allowed me to start at such a young age.
In addition to the health benefits, learning the drums at a young age teaches perseverance and creates a sense of achievement.
Learning an instrument takes lots of practice and it will be difficult. If your child likes a challenge and has fun in the process, it’s a win-win.
Learning a musical instrument has also shown to improve math skills, due to the nature of the complexities of rhythm.
While this isn’t something that will be visible from the start, if you invest in the education of your child’s playing via drum lessons, there is a major added benefit.
If you’re concerned about noise, there’s a solution I can suggest! Consider getting your child an electronic drum set. There are so many options of great kits available.
Read on about the best electronic drum set we’ve decided on after many meticulous reviews.
There are other products designed to deaden or mute the sound of the drums, dramatically reducing the decibel level outputted from the kit, which we will talk about later on in the article.
2) Get the correct size for the correct age
Junior drum sets are most suited to kids between the ages 3-8 and are between 2.5ft and 5ft tall. For children who are taller than average, we recommend going will a full-size kit.
Be mindful of the size of your child and the size of the drum kit. if you buy a full-sized drum kit, your child might not be able to reach the kick drum pedal or all of the drums naturally.
In this situation, you may want to buy a youth drum set instead of a full-sized drum set.
If your child cannot physically play the drums, they will not be excited or motivated to play the kit and it will likely collect dust.
Buying a full-size drum kit will also depend on whether or not you believe your child will grow into a bigger kit. A small drum set for kids is not necessarily always a bad thing.
One other potential issue with buying a youth drum set is that sometimes children become discouraged if they are not playing on what they believe is a “good” drum set.
3) Avoid Toy Drums (If Your Child is Older)
There are many cheap junior drum kits you can find for sale, but I don’t even want to mention them, as I believe they are worthless.
They are not musical instruments; they are toys. If you think you’ll find value in purchasing one, by all
I do not believe these toy drums are worth the time (the exception being for young babies and toddlers).
Some youth kits are missing drums
Another issue with this type of children’s drum kit is the lack of a snare drum. This is the “main” drum of any kit.
It’s the drum that features metal wires on the bottom side of the drum and has a snappy sound.
You’ll most likely get two drums up top and nothing else. Even if one of the drums mounted to the bass drums claims to be a snare drum, avoid this because it likely will not be close to where a snare drum normally sits.
Younger drummers need a standardized kit so they can begin to understand the motions, movements, muscle memory, and coordination when moving up to a bigger drum set.
Some junior drum sets have poorly made hardware
There are a lot of junior drum sets on the market that are just terrible. While the price is cheap, these drum sets for kids are completely flawed, in that, you will absolutely be buying a second kit relatively soon.
These types of drum sets often do not have working lugs, feature cheaply-made hardware,
You’ll often also see stripped threads, wingnuts that won’t clamp down, and a kick pedal that has little response to playing.
In addition to the lower-quality materials, these drum kits often are missing drums and other parts.
Your child will not be able to pick up the correct movement and motions, ultimately leading to re-learning once they own a real drum set.
The cheap price tag may tempt you, but I strongly suggest sticking to the list we’ve curated for picking the perfect drum set for your child.
4) Not All Children’s Drums are Created Equal
When buying a drum set, it’s important to remember that these kits are not going to be totally professional-grade.
Do not expect your son or daughter to sound like John Bonham from Led Zeppelin with these kits!
In all seriousness, this shouldn’t be too much of a deal. Save the better sounding drum set for when your child is totally serious and won’t quit after playing for a few weeks.
Don’t expect to get an amazing, quality finish with these drums. The drums will most likely be wrapped in cheap plastic drum wraps with a glossy finish.
You probably won’t have very many colors to pick from.
The difference between an expensive drum set and a cheap kids drum set
Drum kits are not all made equally. There are many factors that can influence both the price and quality of a drum kit.
- Number of drums – some drum kits ship with only three drums and some ship with as many as nine. This can make a huge difference on the cost of production and how much you’ll pay in a store
- Shell quality – drum are not all made from the same wood. Popular woods for drum shells include maple, birch, beech, oak, poplar, basswood, and even steel.
- Brand name – drums made by big-name manufacturers are going to be more expensive, just like if you buy a pair of shoes from Nike.
- Custom drums – if you want to really bring the price up, go for some custom drums. Expect to pay multiple thousands for just the shells.
- Drum wraps vs wooden finishes – Cheaper drums tend to have plastic drum wraps, whereas more expensive kits have finished wood.
5) Drum Lessons are Very Beneficial
If you feel that your child begins to progress at home once they have a drum set and seem completely interested in playing, taking lessons is a fantastic idea.
The younger they start, the better. Although the general consensus is to start a child on drum lessons is age 7, I believe you can start your child even earlier.
Physical development plays a huge role in determining when your child is ready to start playing drums and taking lessons.
Is it difficult for them to physically hold the
The maturity level of your child also needs to be considered. Can your child sit still for thirty minutes at a time being taught one on one?
Most of the time you’re more than welcome to sit in on the lesson, but if you’re trying to instill a sense of independence, it might be better to wait outside the room during a lesson.
Take a few lessons with an instructor and see how both your child and the teacher feel about the sessions.
Drum lessons for a child are going to be very similar to a math class. They will be learning to count, reading patterns and sheet music, as well as learning basic grooves and technique.
Reading basic drum notion can be very tedious and some young children can find this a bit boring since they won’t be playing fun drum parts.
Similar to a traditional classroom, you may want to consider group drum lessons. Your child may be more comfortable sitting in a room with his or her peers, rather than one on one with an instructor.
Finding drum lessons for your child in your area
I recently stumbled across a fantastic resource for finding music teachers for any instrument.
TakeLessons.com has one of the largest databases of teachers available online. You can tailor it to your specific zip code and find teachers based on rating, price, and availability.
Encourage Your Child to Watch YouTube Videos of Other Drummers to Learn
There’s a lot of great instructional content on YouTube for learning how to play the drums. Here’s a great first drum lesson from See Briggs Rock on how to play your first drum beat.
Since Briggs is so young, kids playing drums for the first time really connect and identify with his content, rather than a traditional music teacher.
As a parent, you should learn alongside your child to help teach fundamentals
Even if you have no knowledge of drums and music notation, it’s possible to teach the basics of drumming using simple notation.
I’ve written extensively on how to read drum notation. I’d suggest giving that a read if you plan on helping your child learn drum music.
Be sure to take time to understand how the notation works before attempting to teach your child the basics.
If you’re looking for a drum method book for your child to start learning, I can’t recommend Carmine Appice’s book more: The Updated Realistic Rock Drum Method.
This was the first book I learned from when I began taking drum lessons.
6) Introduce Your Child to Notable Musicians to Inspire
Watching other drummers is very important as drumming is both auditory and visual. Seeing the movement, actions, and feeling in
There are lots of famous professional drummers in music today. Don’t just stop there though, however.
Some of the greatest drummers of all time come from earlier generations. Here’s just a few to start with.
- John Bonham, Led Zeppelin – Had John not passed in 1980, I am certain that he would be one of the greatest living drummers alive. Bonham was the backbeat behind Led Zeppelin and has some of the most iconic drum parts of all time. He is survived by his son, Jason, who currently plays with Led Zeppelin.
- Steve Gadd, studio musician – Steve is arguably the world’s most recorded drummer. He can be heard on many records from artists like Chick Corea, Steely Dan, Weather Report, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, and many others.
- Dave Weckl, studio musician, instructor – Dave Weckl is a fantastic fusion jazz drummer, playing with the likes of Chick Corea, Manhattan Jazz Quintet, John Patitucci, as well as his own bands. Dave Weckl teaches a fantastic online class for $30 a month. Check it out here.
- Tré Cool, Green Day – You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Green Day before. Tre Cool has been laying down the foundation for the band since the band’s second album, Kerplunk! He is one of the most solid drummers of our day and definitely deserves a spot on the list.
- Josh Dun,
twenty onepilots – This duo has become one of the largest bands in the world since 2013 and are two of the hardest working people in the industry. Josh Dun is both a technical master and theatrical entertainer. If you haven’t seen a live performance of these guys, definitely check them out.
- Neil Peart, Rush – Commonly referred to as the most overrated drummer in the world (we don’t think so) is Neil Peart from Rush. Rush laid the foundation for progressive music in the 1970s and evolved into a powerhouse throughout the 80s and 90s. Neil’s mix of intricate grooves and fills with thought-provoking lyrics makes for one great musician.
- Elvin Jones, legendary jazz drummer – Elvin was a fantastic jazz drummer that continues to inspire drummers to this day.
- Buddy Rich, Buddy Rich Band – Buddy is another fantastic jazz drummer who is arguably the best drummer of all time.
7) Start Your Child Off with a Snare Drum Only
For young children who are playing music in band class, a common practice is to start your child out with just a snare drum, either bought or a rental from a local music store.
If you’re unsure if they will want to play a full drum set and just want to test the waters, this can be a good move. Starting off with a cheap drum set might be a good idea, too.
When my parents started me with drum lessons, they only allowed me to play the snare drum at first.
It was agony.
I could only play a drum set at school and in my private teacher’s office during lessons. My parent’s needed to make sure I was serious about drumming.
Transitioning to a drum set from snare drum
After your child plays the snare drum for a while, they most likely will get curious about a drum set. Hopefully, the school your child attends will have one available for them to play on.
If not, taking lessons can be a great way to get them playing. Your child can get a taste of what playing a real kit is like, learn the basics, and from then you can make a decision if it’s right for them.
I had to practice my lesson materials on my drum set, which included my student snare drum and magazine covers spread out on a table.
I had to get crafty and my parents, as previously stated, knew I was serious about wanting to play.
Is there a big learning curve when learning the drums as a child?
There is a massive learning curve for learning the drums. Stylistically, there are so many ways you can go.
In the beginning, your child may only be learning the snare drum and the very basics of stick control, technique, rudiments, and posture.
You can opt to learn the full drum kit from the start, but having a solid foundation of one drum may benefit your child more in the long run.
Children do tend to have a smaller attention span, so be sure to find a teacher that really can connect with them.
It’s also important to determine whether or not your child is just playing for fun or actually has a big interest in playing the drums.
8) There’s No Wrong Way to Set Up a Drum Set
As your child grows and learns, it’s important that they develop their own style and taste. Setting the drums up according to their preference is a big part of this.
Encourage them to make adjustments to make them more comfortable. Examples of this include raising and lowering the cymbals, adjusting the angles on the snare drum and tom toms, and moving forward or away from the kit with the drum throne.
There are lots of drummers out there who have crazy ridiculous drum setups. I can’t even imagine how they manage to get around the drums with the way their kit is arranged.
That being said, it’s comfortable for them and that’s what matters.
9) Drums are Very Loud
As a parent you must realize that having a practicing drummer in your house may be very annoying and could potentially anger your neighbors, depending on where you live.
Keeping the volume down can be very important if your housing situation requires you to keep the noise down. There are a few different options you have to alleviate the loud volume.
Some of the options below will be more expensive than others.
Electronic Drum Sets are Perfect for Kids
Noise a problem? Consider an electronic kit.
Is your child seriously interested in playing drums, but you either don’t want to stand the noise or live in an apartment where noise is an issue?
Consider purchasing an electronic drum set. Electronic drum sets are both quiet and offer many more features that a traditional drum set lacks.
Electronic drum sets either have rubber pads or mesh drum heads where the stick strikes.
They come with what is known as a drum module which controls everything from drum sounds to headphone volume.
If you decide to buy an electronic drum set, you’ll also need either headphones or an amplifier to hear the sound.
Headphones are a great option for any young student, as they’ll be able to practice whenever they like and play along to their favorite music with the auxiliary input on the electric drums.
Let’s check out some of the best electronic drums for kids.
The Alesis Nitro is the most budget-friendly “real” electronic drum kit. This isn’t a lame tabletop drum set.
The Nitro will get your child playing drums in no time, at a limited volume compared to that of an acoustic drum set.
While the Nitro is at the budget end of electronic drum sets, Alesis has outdone themselves on the quality for such a low price.
Use Drum Mutes
Vic Firth makes rubber drum mutes that dramatically reduce the volume of the drum set. They even come with mutes for the cymbals!
This kit includes mutes that are 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, 22″, as well as three cymbal mutes including the hi-hat.
Mesh Drum Heads
Unlike the mutes, mesh drum heads actually replace the current heads on your drum set. These are not as easy to install and remove but will provide the greatest reduction in noise overall.
This pack is offered in the same sizes as the drum mutes. You will need to buy separate cymbal mutes if you choose this option.
Use Low-Volume Cymbals
Just like the mesh drum heads, low volume cymbals provide the best reduction in dB while practicing drums. These will be more of an investment but work very well if your family lives in an apartment complex or a condominium.
Low volume cymbals will not sound exactly like a real cymbal, but definitely replicate the exact feeling a cymbal has when struck. This pack from Zildjian is an excellent pick.
Drum Shields or an Isolation Rooms
This suggestion is ridiculous, I know. But there are people out there who do this to reduce volume from a drum kit.
Whether or not you build the booth your self or buy an existing product, this is an option. Check out our post on the best drum shields.
Homemade DIY solutions for reducing drum set volume
If you’re in a situation where you want to get a little crafty, there are a couple options you have. Some of these are better than others, but here are some ideas.
- Use towels as dampeners on each drum — You can even cut the fabric to each drum size and tape them to the shell. I would use a tape that doesn’t leave a sticky residue, not duct tape. The thicker your towel is, the more volume reduction you will get. Beware as you will also lose a lot of rebound from this practice.
- Stuff the bass drum with blankets or a comforter
- Put sheets or towels underneath the drum heads between the bearing edge and the rim — The bearing edge is the edge of the wooden shell that the plastic drum head sits on. This practice will require you to take the tension rods and rim off, so it may be more of a complicated solution.
For a more in-depth look on keeping the volume down, be sure to read my article on how to play drums in an apartment or shared living space.
10) Try Drumming Apps
Apps like Real Drum, Pocket Drums, WeDrum, and many others are very popular apps on the iOS store.
Drumming apps are generally free (with ads) and give your child a good idea of both what drums sound like and how a typical drum set is laid out.
Basic rhythm can be taught with virtual drums and many include mini-games that allow you or your child to play along with lots of different songs.
Percussion for Toddlers
Exposing your child to drumming in the first years of life is a great way to jump-start their creativity and expression.
Studies have shown that music and playing drums increase a toddler’s sensory development as well as literacy and numeracy.
It’s a major mood lifter, which will bring joy to both you and your child. Playing drums at an early age also builds hand-eye coordination.
Even if your little one doesn’t stick with drums, it can be used as a very important tool of early development. In this guide, we will detail the best drum set for toddlers.
Note: The section of the article focuses mainly on toy drum sets for toddlers. They aren’t going to be “high-quality” drum sets; they will be toys.
Some of the kits are just percussion shakers, tom drums, or noise makers. The prices do vary, and depending on the needs of your little one, will be either very cheap or in the $100 range.
First on our list is the VTech KidiBeats drum set for toddlers. This is more of a “standard” drum set in that it has three drum pads and a cymbal, each with its own unique sound for sensory development.
Your toddler can play along with nine different songs in various styles including rock, dance, and pop. The drum set for toddlers also teaches numbers, letters, and music.
With the VTech KidiBeats Drum Set, there are four different modes of play: free play, letters, numbers, and follow-along (similar to Simon Says).
Your child can play their heart out in freestyle mode or play along with many different pre-programmed melodies.
Each drum pad lights up and features a different LED light for indication. This drum set for toddlers includes two drumsticks.
In addition to features for your child, it will automatically shut off, preserving battery life, and has volume control, for your sanity.
VTech’s KidiBeats drum set for toddlers is intended for kids aged 2 to 5 years old. Three AA batteries are included with the drum set, although it is recommended that you use new batteries upon first use.
With many ways to play, tons of fun sounds, your child will love playing this drum set for toddlers.
WolVol Electric Toy Drum Set
Second on the list is WolVol’s Electric Big Toy drum set for toddlers. It features a movable working microphone for your child to sing into.
It comes equipped with lots of songs and grooves, allowing your toddler to explore their talents freely.
If you don’t mind a little bit of noise, this kit is the perfect drum set for your little one.
WolVol’s Electric Big Toy Drum Set actually features a drum stool and kick pedal, so your toddler will actually feel like a real drummer.
If your child continues to be interested in the drums, then this kit is the perfect gateway drum set to the real thing.
Just like the last one, this drum set for toddlers plays songs, melodies, drum beats, and lights up.
Included in the box are two drumsticks, a drum stool, and the set. Three AA batteries are required but are not included.
Remo Kids Percussion Floor Tom
This is what I’d consider the first “real” drum we have seen thus far. Remo is a very well-known company in the drumming community and you can’t go wrong here.
While they normally make drum heads for professional drum sets, they also make a lot of cool percussion for kids and toddlers.
Remo’s Kids Percussion Floor Tom Drum is a 10″ drum featuring a rain forest fabric wrap, a perfect design your little one will love.
Not only does the Remo drum provide an excellent learning tool, it produces a professional, high-quality sound.
The drum features an Acousticon shell, a pre-tuned Skyndeep drum head and a vibrant rainforest finish. While this drum is more ideal for classrooms, it also could be the perfect drum for your toddler.
Winfun Kids Fun Drum Set
Like we were just saying, some drum sets for toddlers can be very loud and annoying.
If you want your child to play quietly, the Winfun Kids drum set might be the right answer.
In addition to a nice colorful design, this drum set for toddlers has an auxiliary input, allowing you to play songs from your MP3 player or phone.
Sporting four drum pads eerily similar to a Rock-Band drum kit, the Winfun drum set for toddlers also has six rhythm selections and built-in demo songs.
It includes drumsticks, a stand, drum stool, and a headset microphone.
Buying a drum set can really enhance your child’s creativity.
The same goes for music. The earlier you start them, the quicker they will learn and retain.
Even though some of the youth drum kits on this list are very cheap and don’t sound the greatest, these are the best kits available of everything found on the market.
Remember, this drum kit will test their interest in music and playing drums. You need to establish that before you go and buy a full-blown drum set.
Our favorite pick has to be the Ludwig Junior Drum Set. It’s the perfect drum kit for any age and allows your child to grow into playing the drums.
If you enjoyed this article at all, and if it helped you out, please feel free to share it with your friends or other parents who are considering buying their little one a drum set.
Leave a comment down below if you’ve purchased a kit for your child, or if you have any questions. I’ll be sure to reply to them all.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Featured Image Credit: Petar Dojkic via 123rf.