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Poll coming- Keep or drop drums?

Keep drum lessons for ds?  

  1. 1. Keep drum lessons for ds?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Other

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Ds just started drum lessons a few weeks ago. I need to decide whether or not to keep going, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the instructor or ds's abilities.


Why i want to drop- ds's mouth is NASTY. His overall behavior is quite gross. He has been refusing chores and school work. Why in the world should i pay for a fun activity when he does no work?


Why i want to keep him in- it's theraputic. His occupational therapist loves the idea; motor planning, wrists, hands, etc. His speech therapist also loves it for processing. He has never been successful in other activities and really likes this teacher. I have also seen him LEARNING something in just 3 lessons.


I just don't know.

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If it's therapeutic for him, I would absolutely not drop it. I don't like super long range punishments for young kids anyway. I'd take away his favorite thing or activity of the moment right at the point of misbehavior. For us, that often equates to no computer games, tv, or playdates. Taking away something he's having success with seems short sighted to me.

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I'm with the others...if it's therapeutic, don't drop the drums. I also struggle with one who doesn't care about anything else and can have a real attitude at times. But the drums are the only thing he gets passionate about and often, they rescue him from his bad attitude. "Dude, you're off the hook today...why don't you go ahead and practice for a bit...get out some of that aggression" It has never failed us.


Find another consequence. Legos and screen time would qualify here.

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Enlist the instructor's help.


Jim Solomon, who is a middle school music instructor, has a program called "D.R.U.M" (Discipline, Respect, and Unity through Music" at his middle school and a published book by the same name. In it. he advocates using school music elective programs, especially percussion programs, as a way of getting "tough case/bad attitude" kids to become more engaged in school and control their behavior, and I think in your case, something similar, with the instructor's input, could work well too.


Basically, what Solomon advocates (and I've done this with inner city 4th-6th graders and have it work) is to make GOING to music class something the student has the right and in fact is required to do, but participating being subject to whether the student has lived up to the requirements. If the student has not lived up to the behavior requirements in the last week, he goes, sits, and does schoolwork for that time, under the supervision of the music teacher. If he hasn't met the standard set, he doesn't get to take his drum lesson. If, the next week, his behavior meets the standard, he gets to participate.


Either way, home practice is not restricted, nor is physically going to class. The impact of going to the studio, or having the teacher come to the house, and then NOT being allowed to play is much stronger than being kept from going at all.


But, this requires having an instructor who is willing to be used in this way-and is willing to sit there for the 30 minutes while the kid does something academic (or reads a book or whatever. It should be something necessary, so not in and of itself punitive, but not particularly fun for the child, either) without turning it into either a lecture or saying "Oh, you poor thing, your parents are being SO mean". He needs to be part of the team and willing to be matter of fact about it. And it requires having parents willing to pay for a few private lessons that the child doesn't actually take in the interest of making a point.



I would caution on one thing-this needs to be behavioral, and behaviors within a child's control, only. There's nothing that leads a kid to decide "this isn't worth it" more than to try and be unable to reach the bar because it's set too high. Sitting and working diligently at math for 30 minutes a day is a reasonable bar if that's a problem for the child. Passing all math assignments, if a child struggles with math, isn't. Showing respect for parents and siblings by using appropriate language is a reasonable bar. Not yelling at little brother when he invades older brother's room for the 19th time is probably NOT reasonable.


Solomon also has some great codes and acronyms about being a good drummer and musician that aren't bad to have kids memorize. I've had my students recite them before each practice and to refresh them before going out after practice and I do think it makes a difference to have that code of behavior. Kind of a drumline version of the Boy Scout oath and law :).




Good luck!

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I voted to Keep the Drums.


The whole organizational thing that goes with drumming - keeping the beat, planning the movements, etc.... it's such great therapy and something he can do where communication skills aren't going to keep him on the sidelines.


I get the currency thing, too. It is REALLY hard to find something that clicks for some kids. But in this case, I think drumming is something that can really show benefits quickly therapy-wise. I would keep it.

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