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Most of you probably know that I am a music teacher. I have the awesome privilege to teach early childhood music and movement classes at our homeschool co-op even though I’m not teaching privately anymore. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to review the Alfred Kid’s Drum Starter Pack & Instruments by Westco.
Alfred Kid’s Drum Starter Pack:
The Alfred Kid’s Drum Starter Pack comes with 3 percussion instruments, a lesson book, and a CD. The instruments are a small hand drum with 2 mallets, a wood block with a mallet, and a set of maracas. I would call the sizes of these particular instruments “kid-sized” because they are much smaller the the originals. The instruments are high quality, though. The mallets seem strong and I expect they will last quite a while before they break. The drum seems sturdy. The wood block is a very nice thick piece of wood. The maracas are also wood (not plastic) and are thicker than some real maracas I had in the past which did break.
The Lesson Book:
The lesson book is paper back and has 47 pages. It’s for elementary aged students. I was quite impressed and inspired reading through the book! It starts out with a description of various types of drums, with photographs. But what’s really nice about the book is that you don’t need any percussion instruments at all in order to do the lessons and get started with learning to play drums. They encourage the kids to start with body percussion–clapping, patting, stomping, etc.
I love how the lessons steadily get more challenging. In each lesson the students are learning something new in music reading or technique. For example, the first lesson teaches reading 4 quarter notes per measure. Soon, they add a quarter rest to beat four. In technique, the student starts with just using one sound source (as I mentioned above, that could be clapping, or it could be one of the instruments that came in the kit). Then, they learn to read percussion music written with 2 sound sources. Later lessons start teaching about syncopation and improvisation. I can’t wait to use some of these with my students next year!
The Accompaniment CD:
I haven’t even mentioned the CD yet. This makes the lessons that much more fun and interesting. There are 45 tracks on the CD. Each song starts with the beat (4 clicks for 4/4 time) and then plays the music accompaniment that the kids can play with. The lesson book tells which track on the CD to play for each lesson. Pretty soon the kids are playing along with real songs such as Yankee Doodle, Jingle Bells, and She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain.”
My 7-year-old daughter had a ball with this kit. She sat down and started going through the lessons on her own. (She plays violin and piano, so she does have a background in reading music.) She enjoyed figuring out the coordination of playing 2 different instruments (drum and wood block) with 2 different hands for the lessons with 2 sound sources. It was a little tricky at first, but she’s starting to get it. In the video below, you’ll hear her playing “London Bridge.”
Instruments from Westco:
I also received 3 instruments from Westco Educational Products to include with this review:
I was very happy with the quality of these instruments. The Frog Rasp is wood and comes with a wooden mallet to rub or hit it with. It’s amazing how it sounds exactly like a bull frog! The triangle is metal with a metal striker. The string is attached so it won’t get lost. The cabasa is part plastic and part wood. It’s about half the size of a real cabasa, which makes it great for little hands. My kids discovered a variety of different ways to play it. Check out the video below so you can see actual sizes and hear what they sound like!
3 Special Ways to use the Alfred Kid’s Drum Starter Pack & Instruments by Westco:
- Use it at home for summertime or rainy day learning.
- Use it with an entire music and movement class, with each child having different percussion instruments.
- Do a performance with several of the music tracks so your kids can show off what they’ve learned.
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(Disclosure: I received the Drum Kit and other instruments, as well as monetary compensation, in order to write and record these honest reviews. This post also contains affiliate links.)