Easy Like a Drumming Five-Year-Old

Ax is a drummer. When he sits down at my friend Sugar’s drum kit he lights up, starts tapping away on all the drums and using the pedals, rocking his head side to side with a big grin on his face. My friend Sugar, the owner of the drum kit and Ax’s number one drumming fan, says he is a natural. She sites the fact that he is not a pounder, that he keeps a natural rhythm, and that he’s simply amazing.

I will say the drumming feels very different from when we tried to get him to play guitar. He wanted to play guitar theoretically, but he had to be cajoled and prodded into doing it in reality. He didn’t just pick up the guitar and start strumming for fun on his own.

Drums seem to come without trying, for now. And I’m not going to get all excited and get him lessons right away. Sugar says we can go to her house and play any time, which is a really lovely offer, and so I’ll see. I’ll offer him a visit to the drum house after school and see how often he takes me up on it.

We’ll progress slowly and naturally, the way I truly believe is both healthier and more likely to lead to an appropriate outcome for Ax. We won’t immediately clean out the garage and get a drum set and enroll him in twice-weekly lessons. No big moves, no big pressure. But I’ll take him to Sugar’s house as much as he wants and as much as she can stand. Then we’ll see.

We picked up his Kindergarten enrollment packet yesterday and I’ll admit I got a little misty-eyed. Last night as we went to sleep I felt myself worrying for his future, for what was in store for him come kindergarten.

I said to him, “You know there are a lot of different preschools that kids will be coming from to your kindergarten. Some preschools are mostly playing, and some have more reading and writing. Your school is mostly playing. Do you want to learn some more reading and writing before kindergarten or just wait and learn it there?” He said, “I’d rather wait and learn there.”

I said, “Ok, you know that means some kids will know more than you when you start, right?” He said, “That’s ok.” And I said, “Ok then. I know you can learn anything you need to when you need to, you’re a great learner.” And he said, “I know.” Maybe I’ll channel that easy confidence today for myself.