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Zya and Our $600 Drum Kit

Alexander is taking drum lessons. Both of the kids took piano lessons in early elementary because I believe that learning to read music is as fundamental as learning to read another language. Learn Latin, Mandarin, English and Spanish. Learn music. It’s the rule in my house and it’s a rule I’d let slide for the past few years.

Nature abhors a vacuum as do I. So when I noticed that Alexander had a little more free time than I’d have liked I said, “Pick an instrument.” And we was like, “Why?”

“You’re learning to play an instrument.” I said.

“I can play piano. I hate piano.” He said.

“I know. Pick the next instrument you want to hate.”

“Drums.” He smirked.

So I signed him up for drum lessons. You may recall that three or four years ago Jane was drumming. There was a little drama around getting her a kit. She wanted new. I wanted used. In fact I wanted used so badly that we waited to find one on craigslist and it was not the same day she’d requested a drum kit.

Delayed gratification. Learn it.

So a few weeks ago I took Alexander to the drum teacher. He wasn’t happy about it but he certainly wasn’t miserable. Unhappy might have been the word. Waste of time might have been muttered. When I picked him up 30 minutes later he was red faced, smiling and tapping away on anything that stood still.

Music is fun. It’s also expensive. Not six months ago we gave away Jane’s dusty drum kit and now we need to buy one for Alexander. I’m pretty sure I can find a nice starter kit for about $300… that brings us up to about $600 in drum kits for kids who may or may not want to practice.

Really what brought this all about was my new client over at Word of Mouth Women (What you don’t remember that I launched a new business last year?) You see we were charged with finding mom bloggers to review an iPhone and iPad app called Zya. Zya looks like just another fun app but it’s music education in disguise.

It’s also why I have to buy my son a drum kit. So there’s that

You pick your character, find a song, add a beat, add a hook and then your own voice. When I started working with Zya I learned what a hook is. I didn’t google it or ask a friend. It was just part of the game so I learned that a hook is something that really does just hook you in. It sort of repeats and is catchy. Also it’s possible that I’m wrong but that’s what I think a hook is based on playing with Zya.

Some of the bloggers we worked with made songs of their own. Kim’s son Kyle who is eight made this song

And Sharon had a mashup

And I hate picking favorites but this might be the best “go to bed song” ever.

Zya’s a free app. You can purchase song upgrades or earn them by playing and getting points. The kids seem to have fun and Ciaran’s kids are completely addicted but every mom knows that games are for us. I’m having fun with it too.

I guess I could’ve skipped them drum lessons on round two, tossed the iPad at Alexander and called it a day. The reality is that working with Zya reminded me about music. The need for music education and the need for music in my kids’ lives. Or I could just blame the folks at Zya for reminding me about the import of music.

Rather than drone on and on about how music is important for even those of us who can’t sing I’d refer you to Matt Serletic’s Ted Talk about music and the creative mind. Because really, if you’re going to play (and make no mistake play matters) why not play in a way that allows for creativity.

Edited to add: There’s a giveaway ongoing and if you hurry you just might win an iTunes gift card. Enter here, here or here