Drums are one of the most natural instruments for young children because of the simplicity to create sound. Just moving their hand onto another object creates a sound whether that object is a drum head, pots and pans, or a high chair tray. Anything can be a drum!
When drums are introduced in Zumbini, we want the children to enjoy exploring everything about this instrument. How does the texture feel? What sound do they hear when they tap lightly? What sound do they hear when they bang their hands? How does it feel when someone else hits the drum and their own hands feel the vibrations?
One of the reasons this is a favorite instrument of mine is when I see how early on a baby can play along with older members of the group.
Teeny tiny babies are able to tap their hands on the drum while an adult supports their sitting position. Babies feel and hear the rhythms coming from other players. They realize very early on that their movements cause an effect, a musical reaction! I also love seeing parents realize how much their tiny person is able to understand and contribute with this instrument. It can be a common thought that babies are too little to participate because of their age/development, but when adults see what happens when very young children are exposed to drums, they are surprised and excited every time!
Drumming in Zumbini always follows one of our main principles, there is no right or wrong way to play!
While I may be demonstrating different ways to create sounds, such as drumming fast or slow beats, tapping loud or soft, using large or small arm movements, etc., my hope is that the little ones in the circle participate in whatever way they want. In the beginning, they may just stare at me, taking in everything. Some kids bang as hard as they can from day one. Others may start to follow the different challenging patterns I present during the songs to explore new rhythms or volumes.
Anyway these little ones participate is exactly what they should be doing! Parents can keep exploring with drumming outside of class in lots of different ways. You can find any surface to tap to discover the different types of sounds. You can use an object to strike a drum such as a stick or wooden spoon. You can always use your own body as a portable drum too!
Enjoy discovering new sounds, rhythms, and ways to have fun with your little one as you drum together!