DIY colored mute pad systemphoto used with permission by Try Publising.

Many parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) refrain from buying mini-drumkits for their youngsters for fear of creating a huge racket in their home. This worry may by unfounded, because junior drumsets are so small that they don’t really put out a lot of volume. Nevertheless, to address this concern, I’ve included a short section on page 4 of Drumset for Preschoolers, my new book by Try Publishing, called "Quieting Down the Drums."

I mention that store bought mute pads (such as Evans HQ SoundOff Mutes) work really well, but can be a bit pricey. Below is a quick guide on how to make your own mute pads.

Note: The following instructions could also be used to make homemade mute pads for adult-sized drumsets.

Visit a home goods store such as Home Depot or Lowes and buy two rolls of non-adhesive, 18 in. x 4 feet Con-Tact Black Premium Grip Shelf Liner. Follow the steps below and you are on the path to quieting down the drums.

  1. Make sure you have a fairly sharp pair of scissors.
  2. Unroll the shelf liner and place it over the head (top part) of one of the drums (not the bass drum).
  3. Using scissors, scrape a circle just inside the rim (the circular metal piece placed overtop of the drumhead). Don’t press down too hard, but just enough so that you can determine where to cut later.
  4. Lift the shelf liner off the drum and cut out the circle.
  5. Apply the stickers (Drumset for Preschoolers comes pre-packaged with a page of colored stickers) according to the color scheme found in the book. Place the stickers along the outer edge of the mute pad, creating a border just inside the rim.
  6. For the bass drum, simply cut a long strip of shelf liner. Place the stickers along the narrow strip. Squeeze the strip underneath two of the bass drum claws found on the top of the bass drum. For a more permanent placement, loosen the bass hoop (the wooden or plastic rim that holds the head) of the batter head (the head that is struck by the bass drum pedal) by loosening the tension rods. Slip the narrow strip of shelf liner between the hoop and the head from one side to the other. Now tighten the hoop again using the tension rods.
  7. For the cymbal and the hi-hat, be careful to not cover the entire cymbal. Cymbals that come with mini-drumsets are often so thin and small, that if you deaden them too much, you won’t be able to hear a sound when they are struck. A bone-shape design with a hole in the middle works well. The mute pad for the hi-hat (a bone shape with a hole in it is recommended) needs to be placed on the surface of the top hi-hat cymbal and sandwiched in between the top and bottom parts of the hi-hat clutch. (See the section in Drumset for Preschoolers called “How to Set Up and Tune the Drumset”.)

Since the mini drumkit can be now be used as an educational tool (along with the book) and can quieted down (using color-coded mute pads), is it time to consider visiting your local music store and buying one of these small drumsets?