How to Buy Electronic Drums for a Child or Beginner

Updated on July 28, 2018
greenmind profile image

I have taught guitar and drums for several years. Here is some advice for getting young people started in music.

What's in This Guide

  1. Overview of the key things to consider when buying electronic drums for a child
  2. Price range—how much should you expect to spend?
  3. Correct size and scale of the instrument
  4. Volume, noise, and ear protection
  5. Lessons: will you have to pay a teacher, and how much?
  6. Some of the best available electronic drum sets for kids.
  7. Package deals—often the best way to go

My Experience With Instruments and Lessons for Kids

My experience with children's musical instruments and lessons goes back many decades. Over the years I have had plenty of first-hand experience with instruments of all kinds and students of all ages.

  • 30 years as a professional musician
  • Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist; I have played and recorded guitar, bass, drums, and keys
  • 30 years of experience teaching kids as young as 7 on guitar, mandolin, bass, drums, and keyboards
  • 15 years of experience as rock band coach with kids as young as 8, including stage performance, arranging, and gear
  • A songwriter with 14 complete albums to my credit
  • Worked as a jingle writer and studio musician; clients include Budweiser, 7-11, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and many more

Through studies of music and the brain, we've learned to map out specific areas involved in emotion, timing, and perception - and production of sequences. They've told us how the brain deals with patterns and how it completes them when there's misinformation.

— Daniel Levitin

How Much Should a Starter Electronic Drum Set Cost?

The short answer: A good electronic drum set for a beginner or young player should cost between $200 and $300. Less than that, and it's probably either just a toy or a really cheaply made instrument with poor customer service. More than that, and you're getting into the next-level sets, those intended for more serious, established players.

Electronic drum sets are a standard feature of many recording studios and more than a few bands. High-end electronic drums, which typically come with advanced recording and sampling interfaces, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, we're not talking about those models here -- a good, durable starter set that has basic features costs much less and is relatively easy to find. But you have to be a little careful since some electronic drum sets are little more than toys and will come apart with any kind of sustained use.

An Excellent Electronic Drum Set for a Beginner

One manufacturer that I have had good experiences with is Alesis. Alesis makes some of the best-known and most-used electronic sets in the world. There is one affordable Alesis set that I have found to be just about perfect for my students, and it has an excellent confluence of quality, features, and price.

The Alesis DM6

I recently recommended this excellent and affordable Alesis electronic drum set to a high school rock band that I'm coaching. The band was just getting started and was having trouble finding a place to play where they wouldn't have constant noise complaints. The complaints were almost entirely due to the drums, as they almost always are, in my experience. You can't really turn down the drums—they're just loud.

The Alesis DM6 has professional features, and in my experience, Alesis has both top-notch quality and great customer service. Here are some features:

  • Realistic-feeling full electronic drum set
  • Everything you need to get started
  • Headphone and amplifier outputs to practice quietly or jam out live
  • USB-MIDI output for sending MIDI data to virtual instruments & software on your computer
  • Contains 108 top-notch drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds
  • Includes kick, snare, (3) tom, (2) cymbals and a hi-hat pad, kick pedal & hi-hat controller

Demonstration of Electronic Drums—and a Very Talented Girl

Key Considerations: An Overview

Here is an overview of some things to consider when buying an electronic drum set for a child.

Money: How much do you have to spend? A good beginning electronic drum set doesn't have to cost a lot—there are really good options out there for under $300.

Age: How old is your child? For very young children, under the age of six or seven, you can easily find a "toy" electronic set that they can bash away on to their heart's content. For example, this little kit with drumsticks and everything else is exactly the kind of thing I would recommend to parents who ask me about lessons for their very young kids -- it's durable, portable, and best of all, not very loud! Older children are more likely to take their instrument seriously and practice every day. For them, a more "adult" electronic drum set is appropriate, and, in some cases, necessary.

Lessons: You need to consider how your child is going to actually learn to play the instrument. Do you have someone to give your child lessons? Like many music keyboards for young people that include a "tutor mode," some electronic drum sets have a feature that serves as a kind of lesson set for beginners. I honestly don't know if this is effective or not since I have yet to encounter a student who actually makes use of the feature. In any case, the more serious you and your child get about their instrument, the more appropriate it is to consider connecting with an actual human for regular lessons. A good teacher can change a child's life!

Volume: This is usually more of an issue with non-electronic drums than anything else, but I have seen students with potential undone by their parent's intolerance for noise in their house. Fortunately, this is the exact issue electronic drums can address. Since the only person who can really hear them is the one wearing the headphones, noise is really not a problem. The people not wearing headphones only hear a soft click or thud from the stick hitting the soft rubber pad of the drum.

I have a drum set in my dressing room. I play drums to relax and have some fun.

— Queen Latifah

The Versatility of a Good Electronic Drum Set

One of the coolest things about this kind of drum set is the power of digital sampling. These kits contain hundreds of drum and cymbal sounds, including full kits that sound exactly like classic drum kits from all of rock history. Add in the recording features, and the connectivity to your laptop, iPad, or other devices, and you have a truly impressive instrument.

From the manufacturer: "The Alesis DM6 USB Kit brings the best of Alesis’ 20 years of experience in professional electronic-percussion gear to the aspiring musician in need of a versatile drum set. The DM6 module features an internal collection with 108 quality drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds. You can edit and save your drum kits for custom sounds using 10 presets and 5 custom slots... You can also connect your smart device or CD player through the DM6’s stereo input jack to play along to your favorite songs. This five-piece kit gets you started on a dual-zone snare pad for two-sound compatibility. The DM6 USB Kit also comes with three tom pads, an upright kick-drum pad, and hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbal pads. It even comes with an Alesis bass drum pedal and the kick pad is compatible with any single or double bass drum pedal for your personal feel."

How Big Should a Starting Electronic Drum Set Be?

Drum sets come in many different sizes, from "baby" all the way up to full-sized adult kits. So which one is the right choice for your child?

If you have a child younger than 12 who has not yet begun to grow the long arms and big hands of adolescence, then you should consider a drum set designed for younger players. These are not difficult to find, and if you are having trouble it's also possible to move and adjust the drums and hardware so they're within reach of the young player.

In general, a drum set with a kick drum that's 12" is good for very young children, and a set with an16" to 18" kick drum is well-suited for kids under twelve. Once they get their growth, a full sized kit can be adapted to work for their size.

Ear Protection

Ear protection is a major issue with some instruments, especially regular drums. For these instruments, I have always insisted that my students -- and that includes my own kids—always wear hearing protection in the form of headphones. I have had drum students as young as eight years old who could REALLY hit the drums and definitely needed ear protection.

Electronic drums, however, present the opposite problem—you can only hear the drums through the headphones that are plugged into the kit. It's necessary, therefore, to wear headphones when playing. The problem is that it's possible to turn those headphones up pretty loud. When your child starts playing his or her electronic drum kit, it's important o set some very firm rules about headphone volume. And, as you know, kids love to edge around rules, so it's wise to periodically check in on just how loud they have those headphones set. Having them wear headphones might buy you a little peace and quiet, but they can also pipe high-volume sounds right into your child's ears.

Music is love, love is music, music is life, and I love my life. Thank you and good night.

— A. J. McLean


If you're buying an electronic drum set for a child or beginning player, then you'll need to consider getting them lessons of some kind. Your solution will depend on several factors, many of them specific to your family or your children. In general, a good drum teacher will cost about $50 an hour; if you have two kids in one family taking lessons, you may be able to arrange a package deal. I used to charge $60 an hour for music lessons, and never had a shortage of students, but I was a bit more experienced than other teachers in terms of rock and roll and recording experience.

Many electronic drum sets appropriate for kids have a lesson or tutorial mode that can get things started. However, I have not had great experiences with these lessons modes, beyond dexterity drills and some basic beats. For some young children, it's simply not exciting or interesting enough. A good drum teacher can get your child started on actual beats and actual songs, which in my experience really increases buy-in.

Check Out This Child's Drum Set Guide Before You Make Your Decision!

Choosing a Child's Drum Set -- This guide gives you a good run-down of what's involved in buying a child's drum set. It covers everything from size of the kick drum to the essential accessories and tools your child will need to start playing right away.


The following sources were consulted for this guide:



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)