This month FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids went into its third printing. Rich and I are elated. We never expected our book to touch so many educators and students. The philosophy of the FUNdamentals program is rooted in the combined experiences of a pro-player and a player-parent. At the beginning of the book Rich and I outline our thoughts for the reader:
FROM THE PROFESSIONAL
I love rhythm. As a drummer, it means everything to me.
Rhythm is the primary source of my inspiration and the driving force behind my self-expression. Sharing my love of rhythm is what this book is all about. In fact, the primary purpose behind the FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids program is to help children discover the same love for rhythm that I have. As a professional musician and educator, I always knew there was a way to break the ice on this subject and to systematically introduce younger students to the language of music making.
This book was inspired by a conversation between my friend, Michael Aubrecht, and me. While many readers may be familiar with Michael’s work as an author and film producer, they may be surprised to know that he is also a drummer. In fact, Michael and I are both products of music education and we share many of the same influences. As a parent, Michael was seeking guidance as to the best way to introduce his youngest son to the drums. After doing some research, we both concluded that there were very few materials available that catered to very young drummers. It was then that the FUNdamentals system was born. By pairing proven drum teaching methods with elementary classroom exercises, we developed an entirely new teaching philosophy.
The FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids program uses a step-by-step process in which each exercise builds upon the previous one. Although being a drummer certainly helps, the lessons in this book are designed in such a way that they can be equally enjoyed by non-drumming parents, who are encouraged to participate alongside their children. This book is also set up in a format that can be easily adapted by general classroom music teachers. The core of the FUNdamentals philosophy is found in the kid-friendly techniques that are used to present music theory.
As an extension of the book, we have developed http://www.fundrums.wordpress.com where additional drumming activities and exercises have been made available. We encourage parents and teachers to share their own success stories by emailing photos, videos and stories of them using the FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids. Selections from those submitted will be posted and shared with our online community.
Michael and I sincerely hope that you enjoy using this book as much as we enjoyed writing it. Here’s to the rhythm of life!
– Rich Redmond
FROM THE PARENT
Long before I was anything else, I was a drummer. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that for most of my adolescent life, drums meant everything to me. Following the path of many eager musicians, I took up the instrument in the 7th grade and quickly became the prototypical “band kid,” playing in the choir band, marching band, stage band, symphonic band and percussion ensemble.
A product of public school music education, I practiced hard and was designated the co-captain of my high school drum line. I was selected to participate in the Pitt University High School Senior Ensemble and the Mellon Jazz Festival Student Orchestra. I competed at the national level in marching band and drum line competitions in Nashville and was fortunate to study with some great percussionists. I also jammed with anybody and everybody who would have me.
As a father of four, I was very excited to see my son Jackson (*pictured above with his PDP “Player Kit”) beginning to show an interest in the drums. Unfortunately, I was also very disappointed in the lack of instructional aids available for children that are under the age of ten. Out of frustration, I decided to contact Rich Redmond, who is one of the most respected drummers in the music business. Rich’s reputation as a top clinician and teacher precedes him and my goal was to ask for his guidance and share the successes I had experienced, using simple counting and playing exercises at home.
Somehow I managed to catch Rich’s attention long enough to pitch the need for instructional drum lessons geared toward children. Knowing that I was a writer who played the drums, Rich suggested that we tackle this dilemma together. A few weeks later, we found ourselves sitting together backstage at the Jason Aldean show, drafting an outline that evolved into the system we refer to as FUNdamentals. Today, we are great friends and we are developing an entire drum education program together.
As a parent, I can tell you that this program has something FUN for kids of all ages and stages. No matter what goals they attain, or what skill-levels they achieve, Rich and I simply want to see kids experiencing the joys of drumming. Play on!
– Michael Aubrecht