I don’t like teaching little kids.

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
My unmitigated opinion: If the student refuses to practice at home, he or she has no business being enrolled in lessons, and the parent is wasting both money and the instructor's time. Yes, aspects of learning should be fun, but the formal study of an instrument requires work and dedication. The pursuit isn't for everyone. Not every kid who bangs away on tables and seat cushions is cut out to be a drummer. Lessons require a serious mindset. If kids don't have it yet, they aren't ready for lessons. Maybe they never will be. Regardless, you can't force-feed knowledge. Progress is in the hands of the student, not in those of the teacher.
We're talking about kindergarten through 2nd grade here, dude. Formal study of an instrument? Work and dedication? Serious mindset? Really??

It really takes a lot of patience and right mindset from the teacher. If OP is teaching ten kids that age then maybe 1 or 2 will start to show some talent and start being able to keep a beat. Maybe they'll get a snare drum or set or something for a birthday present and slowing start playing a little more. But it all starts with just having fun at that age.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
There will always be exceptions, of course. By and large, however, those who fail to practice between lessons probably have little interest in drumming, a status unlikely to change in the future. In fact, taking lessons too early can create negative associations that are difficult to reverse. It really depends on the person in question.
They're 6 years old. Seven Eight. Nine. Those kindergarteners and first graders ain't gonna practice at home. Their bedtimes are probably 7pm lol.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
If you had 6 to 9 year olds that were neither taught nor exposed to a language before, none of them were very interested in learning one and they didn’t need to learn one to function, would that be enjoyable? The teaching is limited to about one hour per week, the kids never study at home and the parents don’t care. There is no pressure from government nor from society to motivate them. That is the OPs dilemma.

You have it easier than the OP.

Do you have suggestions to help him in his dilemma?
Yes:

1. Smile. Enjoy the little people. Don't worry about outcomes. Make sure they're smiling when they leave. Appreciate the income.

or

2. Quit. You may not be cut out for teaching such little people. Your niche may be experienced 10-12 year olds and up. When I was in elementary school a zillion years ago they only offered band starting in 4th grade. Same with my son fairly recently. That's like 10-12 years old. Most of those elementary school band members start taking lessons. That might be the minimum age for you. You gotta make it work for you, and if you ain't the kind of person cut out for #1 above, then don't force it. You won't have any fun and the little people will be miserable.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I decided to go ahead and quit the job at the music store. Little kids are a specialty, and frankly, one I’m not motivated to learn. I’ve read so many articles and watched so many beginner videos in the last few months. They all say the same thing. Make it fun. Make games out of it. I tried that with a couple of the kids who I thought didn’t have enough coordination yet to really do drum set. The kids didn’t mind it, but the parents were upset that we weren’t doing drum set, which is what they paid for. Mind you, the kids didn’t have drums and were not practicing at home. Of course they weren’t getting better, even if they were having fun. The store owner wants the business so he doesn’t want me to say anything to the parents. I didn’t mind the two kids who had drums and practiced, even if it wasn’t much progress. I just didn’t see the point of private lessons to learn clapping games. To the one responder who mentioned networking, I never met another teacher there, only the owner. The last two weeks I heard a violin teacher upstairs. That’s it. On a side note, I saw a YouTube video the other day about a guitar teacher who has been teaching since the 90s. He talked about how lessons have changed over the years. The biggest change is that kids have been listening to less and less music. His students now can’t name any bands or songs they like. Most of the music they hear is the background of video games or playlists online. He was about to quit teaching, when he found online teaching. With the whole world of students to broaden his base, he was able to find motivated students who actually like music. Maybe I will try to find a few private students who are a little older, and who have drums to practice on.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I decided to go ahead and quit the job at the music store. Little kids are a specialty, and frankly, one I’m not motivated to learn. I’ve read so many articles and watched so many beginner videos in the last few months. They all say the same thing. Make it fun. Make games out of it. I tried that with a couple of the kids who I thought didn’t have enough coordination yet to really do drum set. The kids didn’t mind it, but the parents were upset that we weren’t doing drum set, which is what they paid for. Mind you, the kids didn’t have drums and were not practicing at home. Of course they weren’t getting better, even if they were having fun. The store owner wants the business so he doesn’t want me to say anything to the parents. I didn’t mind the two kids who had drums and practiced, even if it wasn’t much progress. I just didn’t see the point of private lessons to learn clapping games. To the one responder who mentioned networking, I never met another teacher there, only the owner. The last two weeks I heard a violin teacher upstairs. That’s it. On a side note, I saw a YouTube video the other day about a guitar teacher who has been teaching since the 90s. He talked about how lessons have changed over the years. The biggest change is that kids have been listening to less and less music. His students now can’t name any bands or songs they like. Most of the music they hear is the background of video games or playlists online. He was about to quit teaching, when he found online teaching. With the whole world of students to broaden his base, he was able to find motivated students who actually like music. Maybe I will try to find a few private students who are a little older, and who have drums to practice on.
Sounds like a well-considered decision. Hope you find something else (and with more networking potential).

It's weird -- only with drum set do parents think it's okay to not own that instrument at home. No one even dreams of taking guitar or piano or violin or horn lessons without owning a guitar or piano or violin or horn. But for some reason, it's okay to not own drums? I'll never understand it. It's totally reasonable for you to expect that your students own a drum set.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Sounds like a well-considered decision. Hope you find something else (and with more networking potential).

It's weird -- only with drum set do parents think it's okay to not own that instrument at home. No one even dreams of taking guitar or piano or violin or horn lessons without owning a guitar or piano or violin or horn. But for some reason, it's okay to not own drums? I'll never understand it. It's totally reasonable for you to expect that your students own a drum set.

At the very least, a practice pad. There’s a whole lot you can learn with a pad, while tapping your feet on the floor.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I mentioned this in another thread, but back in January, I took a job as a drum instructor at a music store. This is my first time teaching lessons. I had visions of helping kids with reading, independence, learning songs, ect. I realize now that in my head, I was imagining teenagers. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a music store or what, but all of the 10 or so students that have come through have been in the 6-9 year old range. All but one were complete beginners and only two have drums at home. Other than the two with drums, the kids don’t seem interested in music. They say they don’t listen to music. I get the impression that’s it the parents trying to find activities for the kids. As far as I can tell, none of them practice at home. I think the parents want to see if the kids have an interest or talent before they buy them drums. I understand that, but some of the kids have had 10 or so lessons with me and still can’t play a basic beat. I know they don’t have drums, so I’ve tried to show them how to practice playing on their legs and the floor. One kid could not move his feet in time to a beat after 5 weeks. I thought I would try hand drums but dad got upset that we weren’t doing drum set and he hasn’t been back for two weeks. My newest student has a “stage dad” as the store owner calls him. He plays drums but wants someone else to teach the lesson. He sits in on the lesson and grabs the kids hands to show him how it goes. The owner doesn’t want me to say anything because he doesn’t want to lose a student. I know I could just sit back, take the money and not worry about if the kids are progressing or not. That seems wrong to me. I know it sounds stupid, but teaching these little kids is stressing me out. I don’t enjoy it at all. I also substitute teach and I don’t do elementary for the same reason. I don’t feel like I’m teaching. At the store it just seems like drum themed babysitting. I’ve never had drum set lessons, I learned how to read music in school music programs and taught myself with books and videos. Maybe I just have unrealistic expectations about what giving lessons is like. I’m not sure if it will get better over time, but right now I dread having to go give those lessons. I’m having an inner struggle with the idea that I don’t like teaching, or I just don’t like teaching little kids. I love drums and learning and talking about it. Why is this so stressful?
I don't like kids to begin with but for some reason kids and animals always gravitate towards me (they can probably smell the fear).
I can understand how it would be immensely frustrating to "waste" your time trying to teach someone who doesn't want to learn. (I do the same in the military except that the "kids" are in their 20's and are entitle as F*&K.. I say get out of it if you can, there is NO way you are ever going to feel different about it. The alternative would be to only teach a certain level of students (intermediate) someone who 1. At least owns a drumset
2 can keep a very basic pattern 3 Actually wants to learn, and that will probably be someone in the age ranges of 12 to 25 a lot easier to work with.
Maybe if you had that you can tell for sure if you actually like teaching.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
You highlight a significant shortcoming of modern society. Too many kids are overbooked with activities. They have minimal time to focus on anything. I suspect some parents are in search of incessant daycare. The more they sign their kids up for, the less they have to interact with them. It's a misguided mission that can cause stimulation overload. Exposure to everything means retention of nothing.
And that is why I never had kids... I don't like kids and I am ok NOT having them, I have a cat and a dog enough for me as they do keep me quite busy...
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
This is where you have to use your ingenuity to figure out what you *can* teach them. If they can’t do what you’re trying to get them to do, you have to break it down further. Or differently. They can be taught.

Most little kids are not into music, so your job them is to prepare them for when they do get into it— like when they’re 12-14. Give them some listening assignments and see if they like anything.

Ask them to buy a practice pad and a beginning snare drum book, and start working them through it. And kick that dad out of the lesson.
I bought myself a snare rudiments book... I opened it once and tried a couple.....and I bought the book myself... Imagine if they buy it for you...No be honest and tell them that... (after 5 lessons) "Your kid does not want to do this" never tell them their kid has no talent, every parent thinks their stupid kid is better..... just put it on the kid "he or she doesn't want to do this" and whey they complain just show them the evidence, (5 lessons and zero progress). If they insist then those are the parents looking for a daycare and could care less if their kid learns anything in which case you are stuck with stupid....
 

basset52

Senior Member
It seems a sensible decision and good on you for making it. It does not make you any less a person - in fact a more astute one IMV. As has been said her a few times - teaching is not for everyone. IMV children have a desire to learn new things - but they may not be the things the adults around them want them to learn.
 
Top