My 10 year old son Michael was an average student, earning C's and D's with the occasionally B making an appearance. For this reason, I agreed to buy him a drum set if he would bring home a report card with straight A's. Of course I was thinking he would never accomplish this feat but the next day I was surprised to see him studying rather than playing video games and socializing online.
I figured this new resolve would pass but Michael remained diligent in his studies. My wife, Natalie, informed me that Michael wanted to join a garage band to impress a girl in his class. I smiled because I realized Michael would probably get the best report card of his life but I never expected him to accomplish his lofty goal.
Five Weeks Later
I walked into the house after work and Michael charged me with report card in hand, waving it back and forth like a flag on independence day. I could see the excitement on his face and hear it in his voice. As I realized the paper was his report card, my heart skipped a beat because I had honestly forgotten about our agreement. Much to my surprise, Michael had achieved all As and I now owed him a drum set.
Here Come the Headaches
My wife and I were so elated about Michael's good grades that we bought him a 6 piece drum set, it was used but it in very good condition. We got the drums to the house and set them up in the garage. Everything seemed great until Michael began to play. His first drum solo was a rhythm free, ear drum destroying series of bams and clangs which had Natalie and I wondering why we had ever agreed to this.
After a few encouraging words, which were difficult to say with a straight face, we went inside to escape the torture. Unfortunately, there was nowhere in the house where Michael's assault on the drums couldn't be heard. We limited the child to 2 hours of practice a day just so we could maintain our sanity but even this limited exposure was enough to nearly drive us crazy. We were considering suggesting a change of instruments when Michael came to us and told us he was growing frustrated with his lack of progress.
My wife and I gladly agreed to pay for lessons because regardless of the price, it couldn't be worse than another day of Michael's playing. I searched the Internet for drum lessons for kids and came across a number of sites offering online drum lessons for kids and even adults. We were elated that Michael would be able to take the lessons from home via his laptop so we quickly signed him up... and we were happy we did.
After just 1, 2 hour lesson, Michael called Natalie and I out to the garage and began to explain the different kinds of drums that comprise his set.We were both impressed at how much he had learned and we were relieved when we heard him begin to play. The difference was astounding, Michael actually sounded like a drum player rather than an ongoing car collision. It wasn't the best drumming we'd ever heard but it wasn't awful. It was simple and rhythmic but it was a huge improvement and best of all, it was bearable. We increased Michael's practice time from 1 hour a day to 2 and continued to send him to his instructor. Within a matter of months, Michael was able to join a band although I'm unsure of what happened between he and the young lady he wanted to impress.
Only 1 year has passed since we first bought Michael the drum set and he's a great drummer now and his band 'Orange Bucket of Paint' gets regular gigs at social events and other local events. Getting our child lessons is one of the best decisions we've ever made for Michael. Playing the drums gives him something to do other than getting into trouble and he keeps his grades up because he doesn't want us to take the drums.
Over the years, we've added a few more drums to the set, (apparently there's something called a tom and they come in different sizes) and Michael has continued to take lessons. He now gives lessons to a few of the younger neighborhood kids provided they have their own set because he won't let anyone touch his.
Perhaps there's nothing more rewarding than seeing your child pursue their dreams. I have explained to Michael that the chances his band going big time are slim and none but he plays for the love and the relaxation. It's a headache sometimes when the band uses my garage to rehearse but it's only a few days a week and at least I know where my child is, beating out amazing tunes and staying out of trouble.