Take a deep breath, your kid wants to be a drummer. Is it a nightmare coming? No, it may be the way to fortune and glory, and not necessarily in music. But what drum set for kids should give the child the best experience and the parents the least trouble? The options are rich, but the choice depends on what your kid wants and what you are ready to take.
Choosing the Type of Kid Drums
It’s a natural desire for children to hit any surface that resonates and play music with it. But this desire, even when put to drums, may be expressed through various forms of drums. Here are the most popular:
- Marching drums for kids. The easiest type to take to the street, the sandbox, the kindergarten – wherever other kids are here. A great party toy, and quite a loud one if used right.
- Drum sets for kids. They emulate adult drum sets used in jazz and rock bands, so they are for both having fun and learning.
- Training drum sets. These are for those seriously into music. In fact, they are 100% training tools and nothing like toys, though even if the child is disappointed in becoming a drummer, he or she may still use it as an antistress method.
- Tabletop electronic drums. These are for future producers who want to make music rather than play it. What they may lack is that visceral music feeling, the big bang that sings your existence.
Well, as we are choosing the drum set, we are left with two options: a drum set for kids and an adult training drum set.
Entertainment or Education?
There are drums as toys, and there are drums as drums. The younger children will like it in bright colors, lightweight, easy to carry, so marching drums will be the best option. There are also toy drum kits that are easy to assemble and disassemble after the session. Finally, there are nearly silent silicone ones that need an external speaker or headphones to be heard. These are easy to understand.
But what if drums are more than an ephemeral hobby for your Junior? Then you need to consider buying a practice drum kit instead of simple toys. A practice kit imitates a real drum set with its response, bounce, size, physical feel. The difference is that its volume is much lower, due to special rubber pads, perforated lightweight cymbals, and special pedals emulating bass drums.
What to Look at When Buying a Drum Set
Not all drum sets for the young are created equal. They differ by a whole lot of parameters, so you should pay attention to these:
- The number of drums. The less of them are there, the easier it is to master. For example, a set with a bass drum, a snare, and a hi-hat is very easy; but add a tom and a crash cymbal, and taking care of it becomes much harder, a real work for a real drummer. Luckily, most sets allow for removing one or two components.
- Materials. Cheap sets are usually made of cheap materials, and, given that they are under constant physical attack, weak drums won’t last long. Check the quality of hardware, drum skins, sticks, and whatever. In addition, there are preferences: for example, you may put wood over plastic.
- Price. Not that you should pursue the cheapest model, but when you have chosen the set, why not search where you can buy it for less?
- Brand. Some manufacturers of drum sets for kids are well known among serious musicians. Others (like Mendini by Cecilio) specialize in instruments for the young. Regardless of the segment, they are known for doing their job right. There are reviews by customers and professionals you can read to make your own conclusion about brands.
Size Matters, or When Ageism Is Right
The drum set should be appropriate for the kid’s age. Choose poorly – and the child will be either unable to play a kit that’s too large or annoyed by being treated like a toddler. Choose wisely – and it will be a sort of a match made in heaven.
Drum kit manufacturers usually specify the age this particular kit (or a single drum) is made for. The most popular options are for those under 10 years old and for those of 11 and older. Though kids of this age are growing quickly, the sets are designed to remain comfortable for kids for several years.
Along with the age (which is just a number), you must as well consider the physical condition of your child. If he or she is wealthy and a bit oversize (whether it’s good or bad is beyond our discussion), you can choose a set for older children. And, on the contrary, if the child is smaller than peers, there’s nothing wrong with getting a drum set meant for slightly younger ones.
Differences fade away when it comes to tabletop electronic drums. They require precision and technique rather than raw power and physical ability to reach them. On the other hand, they are better along with computers, DAWs, and sequencers. Being a producer is rather a cerebral than a physical thing, so it’s a better option for teens than for younger children.
Last but not least: is there enough place in the children’s room to place the drum kit there? If there is, can’t it be that it’s too loud? Maybe there’s a better place for drums – for example, in the basement? If the answer is a constant no, you better choose a compact alternative, like an electronic drum kit (which is beyond our subject).
Side Features and Accessories
Well, usually when you buy a drum kit you have all the hardware included (if the manufacturer is decent). On the other hand, given that drums are made for being hit, hardware may easily break, and then you’ll need the broken piece fixed or replaced. Can you buy one? Inquire before you make a final choice.
Some of them are quite versatile – say, sticks or a throne can be taken from elsewhere and still be good. But when it comes to drum construction, you cannot just take a skin or a pedal from another drum and expect it to fit. It should be either native or fully compatible. It’s you who has to pay for replacements, so give it a thought.
Now You Know
There’s no need to describe how children benefit from playing the drums. Your decision to buy a drum kit for the younger generation is right. All that’s left now is to choose the right drum set; and now you know how to choose.
If you want to save sleepless nights for your friends brooding over kid drums dilemma, share this on your Facebook or Twitter. Buying a drum set for your children does not mean sacrificing the rest of your lives! Leave a comment if you have something to add or a question to ask.