When I got a surprise visit from these little angels, I have to admit, I panicked. I have no toys in my house and didn't know how I was going to entertain a 3-year old and a 2-year old. But djembe saved the afternoon!!
First, they both just stared at the drums as if I'd placed some alien life in front of them. But it only took a few seconds for the musical genius to start flowing. Our jam session rocked!
My nieces reminded me that children and drumming go hand in hand. Kids are naturally drawn to music. And, for good reason - there are tons of benefits for them with music. When it comes to playing music, the earlier you start, the better.
Any musical fun benefits children but drumming can especially improve communication skills and teamwork. Learning percussion also opens up doors for introducing children to our culture and teaching them about tradition while encouraging their creativity at the same time. When children learn to express themselves musically, they are more confident and open to challenges in life.
They learn rhythm and how to keep time. They learn to listen to others and blend melodies. They learn that each voice, each beat has its place and should be respected. Making music with others teaches children to cooperate. Appreciating the contribution of others becomes an intrinsic skill for a child who has been making music with others from a young age.
Lessons learned with djembe at a young age can transcend into other ares of life easily. Learning to remember and repeat rhythm will improve ability to remember important facts later in life. Drumming has been shown to improve concentration skills so that children can excel in learning.
I was happy (and proud!) to keep them away from the television, smart phones, video games and any other electronic screens for a couple of hours. (Well, I did snap a couple of pictures.)
With the over-reliance on technology these days, I think it's important to give children other organic outlets for expression. We exercise every part of our brain when drumming and that development is essential for children. Joining in a drum circle can help children develop valuable social skills. Kids should experience being cool as much as possible! And, how cool is it to be able to make music??!!! The look on my niece's face says it all!