As part of the Schoolhouse Review crew I get to try out pretty cool curriculum. Lately we got one of those: DrumsWithWillie from Jazz Edge.
I have both my boys involved in some type of musical instrument training. One is doing violin, and the other one piano. Both of them struggle with beats and rhythm, so when I saw this opportunity for learning how to play drums I jumped on it as a way to help one of them with their rhythm issues.
I told my 9 year old he was gonna learn to play drums. In the past he showed interest, so I thought he might not mind. As it turned out, he was not that keen to be doing extra practice, but deep down wanted to learn, so got on with it
We do not own a drum, so we used the one at church for his practices (we are often enough at church, that frequency was not so much an issue).
So what is DrumsWithWillie?
DrumsWithWillie is an online video-based drum program. Being online it requires an internet connection. You can use it on any computer or tablet. We used it mainly on the Ipad, since we used it at church, which was pretty convenient.
The course is comprised of three levels, each made up of 6 units. Each unit goes through the same pattern:
- Rhythm (working and learning with beats)
- Reading Music (working with sheet music - recognizing beats and rhythms)
- Song (which encouraged creativity)
The course comes with a downloadable PDF booklet which contains the music scores.
The video lessons are also downloadable.
Each screen has 2 windows - one close up of the drum and the other one of the teacher at the drum. This is pretty clever ashe allows for the child to really see what the teacher does on the drum up close.
The lessons are pretty short (10-15 minutes max).
DrumsWithWillie is very easy to implement and use. Grab your device, listen to the course and practice what you just learned. Once comfortable move on to the next lesson. This is basically how it runs.
I love that it covers so much ground: technique, note reading, ear training, and rhythm.
You can start at any level, depending on your previous knowledge and experience.
Since my son had never tried drums before, we started at the very beginning, which was the core drums lessons.
My son's thoughts:
- Starts with the basics - beating out rhythm, holding your drumsticks, where to place the drums etc...
- It does not begin with learning how to read notes.
- It does not push you too hard, all at once. It is very incremental.
- The instructor is very friendly and is very descriptive in his teaching, in a way that makes sure people get it.
My son worked on it pretty independently and enjoyed what he has learned so far.
This program can work for any ages, and level.
I have reviewed their Piano program in the past, feel free to check it out, as well as the other reviews from the crew.
You can also try out their free set of lessons, to give you a feel of the program.
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