Bill Powelson's School of Drums

E-book: The Seeds of Rhythm (for Parents of Pre-Schoolers).

Free Lesson Menus

What are the "Seeds of Rhythm"?

Some people learn to gravitate naturally towards the rhythms as they listen to music. Others may not absorb and feel the rhythms as profoundly, because they may be more focused towards the lyrics and melody. The gift of rhythm occurs as a result of unique and different listening (and thinking) habits that often begin in VERY early childhood and most often, naturally.

In my own case, it was purposefully taught to me by a wise old teacher, when I was exactly 10-years and two days old. I actually remember the day; September 21st, 1951! That was the day the rhythmic lights went-on inside my young mind. I got it right then, and consequently it grew. As a result of that 'seed' the old teacher, (my 5th grade band director, Mr. Story) planted in my mind, I became a pro-drummer 7 or 8 years later.

The point here is simple: Natural Rhythm CAN be purposefully taught. I want to gift YOU with it and (like Johnny Appleseed), I want to teach you how to spread it to others.

As music plays; the more rhythmically-inclined individuals will focus deeper into the music, rather than just the melodies. They're listening to, focusing on, and deeply FEELING the specific rhythms, going-on within the music. They train their minds to remember and replay those rhythms they've heard, over and over in their minds.

Sometimes those rhythms roll around and repeat over and over, in the mind . . . long after the song has ended. Then comes a compulsion to EXPRESS those rhythms any way possible, sometimes dancing and at other times . . . just banging on anything in sight. For many, it often begins very early in life . . . as a matter of developmental variation in individuals.

FOR EXAMPLE: Think of a common nursery rhyme, like "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Now forget the melody! Instead, tap out the rhythmic phrasing of the rhyme, on a table. You've heard it a million times! Just bang the rhythm out on the computer desk or anything, wherever you may be sitting. In a way, you've just discovered the initial 'seed' of rhythm; (but it goes much deeper).

Thinking in rhythms becomes a habit (almost an obsession) for the rhythmically inclined. They tend to feel and remember the rhythms that they hear, as much or more than the melodies or lyrics. Generally, these are the same people (especially younger kids) who may often annoy us all with their incessant banging, on whatever might be put in front of them; be it a drum or a playmate's head.

The point and objective of this little e-book is to help anyone discover and/or develop their own natural rhythmic inclinations. I also hope to help you discover ways to gift it or teach it, to the very young (or anyone) in a very simple way. There is more to it than I will cover here, but the essence of natural rhythm CAN easily be taught and learned by anyone, if the proper listening and thinking habits can be instinctively and habitually ingrained. It's becomes a matter of habitually shifting our 'aural focus', as music plays around us everyday.

During my long (62 year) career as a working drummer and private drum instructor, I've enjoyed the challenge of teaching the art of drumming to quite a number of pre-school youngsters ages 4 and up. That experience was as enlightening for me as it was the young students! It has caused me to ponder and dispute the common assumption or adage, that rhythmic ability is a genetically inherited natural gift.

Though I totally agree that natural rhythm often does most often seem to occur naturally; I now also contend that it can be easily taught, by helping the student (or ourselves) form the different habit of listening for, then feeling and remembering rhythms of music. It can be trained to occur in much the same way that many people learn to remember lyrics and melodies.

The objective and purpose of this very special, short course, is to help parents (or any adult, age 12 or older), discover ways to teach "natural rhythm" and eventually drum set techniques to preschool children aged 3 and above. It's possible to plant the "Seeds of rhythm" at much younger ages. It's all about training (helping) the child to listen deeper to the music that plays around them every day. It's about helping the child develop specific listening habits. Those ingrained habits will grow into a depth of feeling and respect for the tempos and beat flows within all music. As the listening habits become ingrained, it leads to a greater feel for rhythm itself and becomes that thing we call natural rhythm or natural rhythmic talent.

Actually, the seeds of ALL rhythmic talent and drumming may be easily taught to younger age groups, though it can be very slow going at first. I'm talking about the thing that a lot of people refer to as natural rhythm. It CAN easily be taught, though it will later bear all the markings of what most people will still refer to as, "natural or genetically inherited".

Lesson #1 of this course can be instilled in young toddlers as young as 9 months and maybe younger. We do this by playing a specific little 'patty-cake' game with the toddler, (to be explained in lesson #1.)

Lesson #1 should be the quintessential first music lesson taught to any child, no matter what instrument they might choose to play at a later time in life. It really is the 'magic seed' that will cultivate that natural feeling for the rhythmic flow of all music. Some, but not all people, DO seem to come by it naturally. A lot of people think it's an inherited thing. That just isn't so. Some people, habitually listen deeper to music, than others. They train their own ears at an early age to listen more for the rhythms within the music, rather than the melodies. Those rhythmic-listeners eventually develop that 'special' or 'natural rhythmic feel' as they continue to grow and listen.

My point is; it's a developmental thing; whether it is taught or whether it develops naturally. It isn't inherited. It CAN easily be taught and it's as simple as planting a seed that grows into a beautiful flower or tree.

The secret seeds of all musical talent, will begin with the first lesson in this course, "Seeds of Rhythm", as the toddling student learns to 'feel the beat flow of a song' in the same way that all professional musicians, dancers and drummers (especially), feel it. This habitual 'feel' for the beat flow of music is the primary ingredient that leads to a 'natural feel' for rhythm and 'natural musical talent'. Without this natural feel, no student of music will do well, regardless of the money spent, or years devoted, towards learning to 'play' any musical instrument.

I've found over a 55 year career, teaching drums to all ages, that about 70% of all adults over 12, already have developed (to some degree) this 'natural feel' for the backbeat flow. Those who haven't developed it already, will easily do so, as they prepare themselves, to teach their pre-school student. The earlier they learn it, the more intense it becomes, later in life.

Please be aware that Buddy Rich (who was maybe the greatest drummer of all time) and many other drummers began their careers at age 3 or younger. It is possible to teach any child to play drums at almost any age, though . . . the younger the student, the more patience the teacher will need.

It can't be done over-night!
First . . . We must teach 'YOU', the teacher;

Anyone above age 12 should find all this very easy! It's a simple matter of learning to listen deeply into the music (any song) and identifying the 'backbeat flow' as the song progresses.

THEN . . .

. . . You'll follow my SPECIAL techniques, to teach that same talent to almost any youngster, of any age. The trick is to get 'on their level' as you teach them and make it a fun bonding experience for both of you, as you do it.


. . . I'll show you exactly how to take it much, much, further. I'll even show you how to teach almost any pre-schooler to jam at the full drum set, with half the songs they'll hear on their CDs or the radio. You'll be learning too, as you teach them. Patience is the major ingredient. The lesson material is actually very easy and fun. If it's easy enough for toddler, then it is obviously easy enough for any adult.

Let's get started! It's easier than you think . . .

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