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.
Interested in buying your child a drum set today? Check out the top list of our favorite drum sets for kids.
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 brain while playing and practicing.
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.
What is the youngest age for kids to begin drumming?
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.
2) There are different sized drum sets for varying age groups
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.
3) There are student drums you should completely avoid
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 means go ahead. I do not believe these toy drums are worth the time (the exception being for young babies and toddlers).
See this kit pictured to the left? Avoid any kids drum kit that has this look to it! You’ll generally see fixed hardware that cannot be adjusted. In this picture, I notice right away that the hardware bars holding the two top drums are completely fixed. While we do mention a drum kit like this for toddlers in another article, it’s not recommended for anyone older than five years.
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, contain three or fewer drums, and break very easily. 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 drumsticks. I strongly recommend getting your child thinner sticks (Vic Firth 7As) when they are beginning.
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.
YouTube is an excellent resource for learning to play the drums
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.
Helping your child learn to read music is very important for a beginner drummer. This Sibelius drum legend notation graphic shows how you should read and understand drum music. Each note on the clef represents a different part of the drum kit. 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, we recommend Carmine Appice’s book The Updated Realistic Rock Drum Method. This was the first book I learned from when I began taking drum lessons.
6) Be sure to introduce your child to famous musicians to inspire them
Watching other drummers is very important as drumming is both auditory and visual. Seeing the movement, actions, and feeling in a performance can do wonders when beginning to play the drums. 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 one pilots – 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.77
7) Consider starting your child off with just a snare drum
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. Being in band is a great introduction to private lessons and your child will learn the basic fundamentals of rhythm, as well as play snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals.
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 then 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) Understand that 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. This list will be ordered from most budget-friendly to the most expensive.
Use drum mutes
- This pre-pack includes mutes for 10", 12", 14", and 16" toms or snares, a 22" bass mute, hi-hat mutes, and 2 cymbal mutes
- Designed around the 'average' fusion drum set, these mutes will allow you to practice your grooves and fills without driving everybody else nuts
- Solid Rubber
- Nearly Silent
- Good Rebound
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.
Buy 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.
Buy a drum shield or an isolation room
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.
10) Use drumming apps to see if your child is truly interested
Apps like Real Drum, Pocket Drums, WeDrum, and many others are very popular apps on the iOS store. Drum playing 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.
Now if you’re ready to make the leap, be sure to check out our list of top children’s drum sets.