- Should You Get an Adult’s Drum Kit or a Child’s Drum Kit?
- The Important Criteria to Consider when Choosing a Child’s Drum Kit
- Choosing Second-hand Drum Kits for Kids
- Should You Get Your Child an Acoustic Drum Kit or an Electronic Drum Kit?
- Models of Drum Kits Suitable for Children
- Other Things to Think About
“What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give.” - P. D. James
What if you could give them a drum kit?
The drums aren’t one of the most common musical instruments that children choose to learn. However, maybe your child is interested in drum lessons rather than learning to play the keyboard, for example.
So why not get them a drum kit so that they can start learning to play drums?
In this article, we’ve got some advice on buying drums for your children.
Should You Get an Adult’s Drum Kit or a Child’s Drum Kit?
Regardless of whether they want to play jazz, rock, or orchestral drums, the first thing you need to consider is the age of the child.
If they’re under the age of six, a “toy” kids drum set should do the trick. For those under six, it can be difficult to really know whether the child’s going to stick at drumming or whether their dreams of becoming a musician is just a phase.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a top-end drum kit or percussion instruments if your child is just getting started with the drums, playing simple beats, and getting to grips with beginner music theory.
There are toy drum kits available for a few quid and a junior drum set will do the trick if your child is just interested in playing a little bit. On the other hand, some children can be very driven and motivated at this age, especially if one of their friends has some.
However, a child aged 7 or 8 may already know if the drums are the instrument for them. You’ll quickly know the answer. If they’ve spent a long time playing with the toy drum sets you got them and shown that they’re interested, it’s probably time to get them a real drum kit.
It might be difficult listening to them beg for a real drum kit for so long but it’s probably a good way to see if they’re really interested in playing.
On the other hand, you might see a six-year-old get hooked on their Spongebob drum kit. They might get sick of playing with toys and pots and pans and need to move onto a better model. It might be time to start thinking seriously getting them music lessons or private drum tutorials.
The Important Criteria to Consider when Choosing a Child’s Drum Kit
The first thing you need to consider is the age of the child and how big they are.
To play the drums, both their feet need to reach the ground. Their left foot will work the hi-hat cymbal and the right foot will press the pedal to play the bass drum. Thus, you need to choose a drum kit that matches their size.
Everything needs to be height-adjustable:
- The drum throne: it may need to descend lower than an adult’s one.
- The snare drum stand needs to adapt to the child’s height.
- The hi-hat stand: this needs to be adjustable.
- The bass drum: since the toms are attached to the bass drum, if it’s too big, the toms will be too high for children. The floor tom, on the other hand, is usually adjustable.
- The cymbal stands: these are usually always height-adjustable.
The bass drum shouldn’t be bigger than 20” (18” is ideal).
You can find smaller bass drums for fusion kits and jazzette kits. A little kit for your little ones. A rock drum kit can have a 22” bass drum which would put the toms out-of-reach for a small child.
Choosing Second-hand Drum Kits for Kids
You’re never sure of anything with children.
They might seem like all they want to do is drum one day and give it up after a few months. Looking at the second-hand market is a good way to find quality drum kits for less. You can always sell the kit on once you’re done with it, too.
Sometimes children can get started with the drums and then want to move onto other instruments like the violin, saxophone, etc., once they’ve started learning music theory.
For between £200 and £300, you can get a very good second-hand drum kit for your child once they’ve shown that they’re serious about learning to play. There are sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Gumtree for second-hand drums.
If you’re looking for new kits at around this price, you’ll probably have to settle for entry-level kits.
Should You Get Your Child an Acoustic Drum Kit or an Electronic Drum Kit?
Everyone knows that drum kits are noisy.
When choosing drum kits, you need to think about where you live:
- Do you live in a flat?
- Do you live in the country?
- Do you have a room dedicated to music?
- Can you tolerate a lot of noise?
The goal is to ensure that your child remains motivated. They need to be able to play their drums whenever they want.
You don’t want to be constantly telling them things like “your sister’s asleep”, “I’m watching the TV”, and “Dad says it’s too loud”, as you run the risk of discouraging them.
It’s great if you happen to live in the country and have a room away from the rest of the house where they can play to their heart’s content. However, this is not the case for most people. However, if you live in a flat, you should probably look at electronic drum kits.
They have the advantage of being versatile and height-adjustable. They’re fun, almost silent, and their sound can be changed. However, an electronic drum kit is usually more expensive than an acoustic kit. Looking at the second-hand market is a good way to find quality electronic drum kits for less.
Keep an eye out for good brands such as Pearl, DW, Yamaha, Ludwig, Tama, Gretsch, etc.
Models of Drum Kits Suitable for Children
Before you buy a musical instrument for children, be it an acoustic guitar, a flute, a trumpet, or a drum kit, the child needs to play it. Head to a music store and let them have check that the drum kit is the right size for them.
Don’t rush into buying a drum kit. The best thing is to wait until the child’s done their first lessons. You’ll then know if they’re planning to stick with learning the drums. Make sure that the important parts (bass drum, hi-hat cymbals, snare, and the drum throne) are height-adjustable.
Don’t forget that the second-hand market is where you can get better quality instruments for less.
Pearl Forum Fusion 20”
For around £150, you can get a fusion kit that’ll do the job. You can replace the original cymbals later on as they’re quite light.
It’s a good kit if your kids are into rock music. The toms sound good but the skins are quite fragile.
PDP Mainstage 20”
PDP is a company under DW and offers drum kits for around £500 new. You can get them second-hand for a couple of hundred pounds less.
The bass drum is loud (watch your ears!).
The build quality is good and the kit is good value for money.
Yamaha Stage Custom 20”
Learning the drums and becoming a drummer can be quite effortless.
The build quality is great and even though it’s a traditional kit, it’ll do the job. That said, it is more expensive than some of the other kits at around £600.
That said, it’s one of the best kits to start learning the drums.
Tama Rhythm Mate Fusion 20″
For around £500 new, this drum kit has a powerful and warm sound It’s a great quality kit and will last for ages.
Like a lot of these kits, you should consider changing the cymbals for better and heavier ones. The skins can also be changed for a better sound. That said, when you get started with playing, it’ll do the trick.
Other Things to Think About
Don’t forget to check whether your kit comes with cymbals or not. Sometimes, kits don’t come with them and you’ll need to buy them separately. You should opt for long and thin drumsticks for kids.
I recommend that you change the skins, too. Second-hand kits will have worn skins and if it’s a new kit, the skins will usually be of a low quality. Playing with quality drum skins can completely change the sound of the instrument. It’s better to have tired good skins than low-quality new skins.
Don’t forget hearing protection for children. We don’t often think about it, but children’s ears are still developing and more fragile than ours. It’s important to, therefore, invest in protection! For a few quid, you’ll find what you need!