When kids clap, it’s never wrong
It’s really fun to teach kids to clap.
We have a 19-month-old and he loves to clap. As a matter of fact, when he claps, he smiles. Every time.
So, there’s nothing greater than watching that.
Typically, he knows he’s done something right and the action deserves a clap. (As an aside, he’s recently perfected the fist bump, which is a whole different level of fun. So, now, the fist bump is followed by, you guessed it, clapping.)
But, let me tell you when clapping is dangerous.
I have played the drums since the fourth grade. That’s more than 30 years, if you’re counting.
A couple of times a month, I play a drum set at Harvest Community Church in Selah.
So, there I am with my right foot on the bass drum pedal, my left foot ready to manipulate the hi-hat cymbal and both arms engaged in well, you know, drum playing.
The first couple of rows in our church are reserved for kids. And, our music leader encourages clapping along with the music we play.
Most folks clap on 2 and 4. The kids, well, they clap on 1, 2, 3 and 4 – or any other beat they can find.
Some say the drummer (I have never said that!) is the heartbeat of the band, having a substantial effect on the rhythm and tempo of a particular piece.
So, as a drummer, the clapping of 4-year-olds makes me nervous. I’m afraid I’ll lock into the rhythm of little Johnny in the front row – and then, I’ll melt down from there, playing beats all over the universe.
But, make no mistake about it, when it comes to kids and clapping, there is no “wrong clapping.”
It’s not about the drummer. It’s not about the guy on bass guitar. Clapping is about folks connecting with the music.
And if it produces smiles, clapping and an occasional fist bump, it’s OK in my book.
• An editor by day, Scott Mayes is also dad to Matthew, Micah and Nathan. He’s a high school parent, a youth soccer dad and changes diapers. He loves the loud noise a crash cymbal makes, but he’s not quite sure what that says about him.
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