The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Drum-A-Long (drumset practice pad kit) Review by Kelly Burgess

Richard Schwagerl
Rhythmic Magic
(661) 245-5628
P. O. Box 28
Frazier Park, CA 93225

Drum-A-Long is a beginner drumming practice kit that includes a drumset practice pad made of a mousepad-type material, 2 professional nylon-tipped wooden drumsticks, a rhythm poster, and a play-a-long CD. It's intended for users of all ages. It can be purchased for $19.95.

When I first opened the package, I was a little bit confused, because there wasn't an introductory letter or written instructions per say. As I examined the rhythm poster, I got the gist of how numbers are assigned to each section of the practice pad so you know what to hit, and the provided rhythm patterns substitute numbers for notes, indicating which hand to use to strike which part of the practice pad. Simple and basic rhythm patterns are provided on the poster to give you a clear picture of how each rhythm pattern should be played. 

I started off by having my son practice the timing of these rhythms. He is only 8, and it took him a few times to get the hang of it, but he got excited as he began to learn each pattern.

Next, I took the play-along CD out of its clear plastic bag and inserted it in my DVD player. It started off with some music with which he could practice playing along. I liked how the drum sounds were easy to make out, and the rhythm patterns were pretty clear. It was jazz-type music, so the drumming was fairly predominant and easy to pick up on. He really did enjoy trying to play along! The 16th note rhythm patterns were the hardest for him, and he kind of gave up on trying to match the beat, but he had fun trying!

After the 6 music tracks played and demonstrated various rhythm patterns, there were 3 talk tracks. A man's voice explained the program, what rhythm is, and how to use the poster to learn the numbers system and play the 4 basic rhythms. That was helpful. It really would have made more sense to me if the instructional part of the disc had been at the beginning with the songs playing afterwards. There was not a labeled disc sleeve, and I didn't immediately notice the index of tracks that was pre-printed on the disc itself, so the contents were a mystery to me until I heard them!  I guess I should have paid closer attention to the front of the disc. But again, a single sheet of written instructions on how to get started and what to do first would have been very helpful.

I liked the fact that the practice pad stayed put and didn't move around, but it seemed a bit small to really simulate the positioning of the cymbals and drums. I think a wider pad would have made for a more realistic simulation. I also wish that the cymbals and drums made a different sound than just the identical tapping noise you get. It didn't matter what part you tapped ... it all made one sound since it was just a mousepad-type material that was printed with pictures of cymbals and drums. So unless my son was looking at the practice pad while he drummed, he had no idea if he was actually hitting the appropriate part or not. I also liked the solid feel of the full-sized drumsticks.

Overall, he thought it was a lot of fun and asked to do it again. Just know that its primary purpose is to help you learn and practice the 4 basic rhythm patterns and which hands to use when creating those patterns. But it does not create any kind of realistic sound like actual drumming, which could be a good thing since drums are so loud! I do think it improved my son's sense of rhythm and control in his hands, and it helped to train his ear to listen for the rhythms in music. So if you have a child who is itching to learn to play rhythms but you don't want to hear the racket, then this would make a perfect gift!

-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016