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Jan. 17, 2022

Episode 30: How Drumming and Reading Go Together with The Maxwells

Episode 30: How Drumming and Reading Go Together with The Maxwells

In this episode, DJ talks with Max & Deanna Maxwell of Movin’ With The Maxwell’s about their “Little Drummer” course developed for young children to learn the basics of drumming while simultaneously gaining skills needed to be successful in school.

Tune into this episode to hear how to inspire and hone your child’s comprehension, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and focus through online enrichment activities and engaging and fun videos that teach your preschool and early elementary aged children how to play the drums! Yes, you read that right! Stay with us… The “repercussions” will be obvious and the time spent will be a “sound” investment (Ba-dum-tss)!

What does drumming have to do with reading and how can drumming teach  your child the skills needed to be successful in school and life? Stay tuned for this episode to get the answers from our special guests who combined their passion for making music and lifelong experience as an educator to create a one-of-a-kind online video course for your pre-school age child.

Don’t miss this episode! DJ talks with Max & Deanna Maxwell of Movin’ With The Maxwells. This energetic, powerhouse couple brought their distinct talents (a professional musician and a lifelong educator) together to create a course for preschool and early elementary aged children to teach the basic skills needed to be a drummer while simultaneously teaching essential skills your child will need to be successful in school and in life! 

Have you incorporated the learning of a musical instrument with your preschool or elementary school aged child? How has it helped with early developmental skills? Please share your experience with us and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @littleheartsacademy

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DJ Stutz:
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Connect with our guest:
Max & Deanna Maxwell:
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DJ Stutz  0:13  
You're listening to Episode 30 of Imperfect Heroes Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. I'm your host, DJ Stutz. And do you have a little one that is constantly banging on whatever they can find? They make drumsticks out of spoons and pots and pans become drums. Well, Max and Deanna Maxwell have an amazing program that takes that energy and uses it to prepare them to be great readers. There's so much to learn so let's get started

before we get going, I want to remind you that we have a website for the podcast, And you can follow us there and it is so easy to leave a review. You can also click on the contact button and reach me and if you enjoy today's episode, please leave me a rating and review. Just so you know five stars is the appropriate number of stars. And be sure to listen to the end of the podcast and become one of my Linger Longers. Before we get started on today's show, I've got to give a shout out to my listener of the week. Christina recently gave us a five star rating. Thanks for that, and simply wrote, DJ does a great job at bringing great guests on her podcast and tackling a broad spectrum of topics. Thank you so much for that review. It honestly takes just one minute to leave a review. And your five star ratings and reviews help us become more visible and enable other families to find us so keep them coming. 

Max Maxwell is a professional musician who has made a career out of his love of music, and he's been playing drums since he could hold a drumstick and has performed and recorded with numerous groups, including trace Adkins Kid Rock, Chaka Khan, InSync, Michael McDonald, Days of The New and Gary Lewis and The Playboys. He has also performed on the nationally televised Grand Ole Opry and currently, Max can be seen playing with The Crashers. Deanna Maxwell has dedicated her life to the education of children. She has her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Indiana University. She moved to Hawaii where she taught children in a residential psychiatric hospital. And after moving back to Indiana, she got her master's degree in special education and spent over 16 years in the classroom, teaching students in every grade level from kindergarten to college before coming before becoming a school administrator. She is currently working as an assistant principal in the same high school that she graduated from almost 30 years ago. Max and Deanna brought each of their loves together and created a program that uses a child's natural desire to make sound to help them develop a variety of strategies that prepares them for success in school. While drumming teachers will generally not take new students under the age of eight years, the Maxwell's understand that children as young as three can learn the basic skills of drumming. And while doing so they prepare their brains for reading and develop the essential skills your child need to be successful in school and in life. skills like listening, comprehension, fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, and focus, just to name a few. There's so much to learn. Let's listen in. So I'm joined today with a wonderful couple Deanne and Max Maxwell, and they have an amazing approach to helping kids get that head start for education and to be successful. And I'd love to have you to just kind of introduce yourself and tell us about your family and what you've got going on.

Deanna Maxwell  4:30  
First, thank you for having us. We appreciate you taking time to talk with us. I'm Deanna Maxwell, his wife, or maybe I should say he is my husband. We have four kids, and they are Wow. They're very different from each other. They range in ages. Our youngest is 18 and our oldest is 25. So our 18 year old is currently in the military. He's at tech school in the Air Force and Hopefully we'll get to see him soon. We missed him desperately, especially around the holidays. It's difficult to have them gone. The next one up, she is 21. And she actually starts PA school in January. So we're super excited for her. She had to work over Thanksgiving at the hospital and sent us a text and said that it was the first time she'd ever had to do CPR on a patient. So we were like, well, we were glad you were there on Thanksgiving then. So that was kind of exciting for her. The next one up our daughter, Sophia. She's a dancer, and she is currently a nanny, and a dance instructor, which is amazing. And was babysitting a dog over Thanksgiving. So we we're big dog people. We have four rescue dogs as well. So I think she gets that honestly. And then our oldest Sam, he is an actor, and he is in New York City right now. So but yeah, those are our four kiddos.

Max Maxwell  5:49  
And I'm Max Maxwell. Deanna has husband. Yeah, let's say that. In our profession, professional musician. Deanna is an educator and I'm a professional musician. And I do other things as well. But that's that's been a majority of my life. My father was a professional musician. And so we've got a long list. My brother's a musician. I play music with him. So it's, we've had a a wonderful musical life.

DJ Stutz  6:14  
Sounds wonderful. Deanna, I know that you have this education background. And you've worked with pretty much all the ages, haven't you?

Deanna Maxwell  6:23  
I have I've been very blessed to do that. I started out in elementary education. I got my bachelor's degree at Indiana University go Hoosiers, and did elementary education, absolutely loved it. And then went back to school and got my master's in special education. My first teaching job was actually in a psychiatric hospital in Hawaii, we had moved out there and we're there for a couple years. And I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with kids that needed help. I just I felt like someone needed to love them. And I wanted to be that person. So I honestly never had even considered doing special education until I kind of fell into it with that bachelor's degree. And then once I did it, I just never really looked back. So I did special education for 12 years in an elementary school, and it was preschool through fifth grade. And then once I went back for my masters, finished out my special education license, ended up moving from elementary to middle school did that for five or six years, then move to a alternative program, and that had six through 12. So I kind of got a taste of the high school. And then I went back again and got my administrators license, and then became a principal in high school. So I've also taught college, I taught three years at a local community college and taught the introduction to special education course. So I've been very, very lucky that I've worked with preschool through college age taught every single grade level there is and also taught in every environment there is so I've taught general education. I've taught inclusion I've taught, self contained I've taught in a psychiatric hospital, I've taught in an alternative programs, I've I've been very, very blessed in my career that I've gotten kind of a little taste of everything.

DJ Stutz  8:02  
That's amazing. And it's really interesting to see how you to combine both of your backgrounds to come up with something to really help parents get that early start for their kids to help prepare them to learn in their academic life. I'd love for you to talk about what are some of the skills that you see are necessary and important for kids to come into whether it's preschool or kindergarten, what are some of those important skills to get them that Headstart?

Deanna Maxwell  8:35  
Well, one of the things I noticed very early on when I was in elementary education is how many students came to us, like you said, either preschool or kindergarten, and they were already behind. And it broke my heart because as a special educator, my job was to try to get them back on track. And I kept thinking, oh my gosh, if I could just get to them earlier, if I could just get to them when they're two and three and four before they come to us for school and teach them these basic skills. We wouldn't have to be filling that gap. And then once they're behind, it's very difficult for them to not only get caught up, but then stay on track with everybody else. So if you have a kindergartener that's a year behind. Not only do they have to make up that year, but then they also have to make up the year of kindergarten that they're in. And so it became very difficult to get those students caught up by the time they hit middle school, which was always our goal. So some of those skills that we saw attention to task. It's something you teach. It's, I mean, I hate to use our dogs as an example. But if you have an untrained dog, and you don't work with it, it's not going to be able to sit and focus and listen. You have to actually do obedience with it to get it to learn and not that I'm trying to relate a dog to a child, but in the sense that you do have to teach how to do that. How do you sit down how do you pay attention? How do you listen to somebody and take that in for information in that listening comprehension is huge. Another huge skill that we see is the ability to cry off the midline. And for a lot of parents, that's going to sound very confusing. Basically, what that is, is there's a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of your brain that's called the corpus callosum. And you have to be able to cross that the nerve endings go go across, to be able to have your right brain and left brain work together. So in the sense, like if you're crawling, or if you're marching and tapping your hands on the opposite knee, to have your right side work with your left side at the same time. And that's something that a lot of students were lacking in. And we had a lot of trouble with getting into the school and being able to do things that required them to use both sides, those very uncoordinated kids that would come into gym class and really struggle. So that kind of goes along with that eye tracking, being able to track when they go across a line, the number of students that couldn't track print, so they couldn't read, not because they didn't know the letters, but because they couldn't track the print across the page. And so working with those eye muscles as well. And so what what I noticed as an educator was, I wanted a way to get to students before they came to school. And then when my husband and I started really talking about the need for kids to, I don't know how you even explained, he worked in a music store, he owned a music store for many, many years, when you may want to talk a little bit about

Max Maxwell  11:17  
what we really what I found, as a professional musician at drummer, parents would come in with their kids, 345 year olds, and in theory, they didn't have the attentions to be able to sit down for 30 minutes with an educator, and take a private lesson. And so the music stores wouldn't take them. So these young people that had that desire to play music, were unable to do that,

Deanna Maxwell  11:42  
when it wasn't financially responsible for any music store to tell a parent, sure, let's Shell out the money for a private lesson for a three year old, that's really only gonna be able to pay attention for five minutes, some

Max Maxwell  11:53  
people did that they actually put the child in there and the kid would stay for five or 10 minutes. And then the 30 minute lesson would be 10 minutes and right. So so what we found was we wanted to have a program that would enable us to keep their attention, make something that was fun. And at the same time, all the pieces that she found were missing from a child going into preschool in first grade and elementary school, any of that she did all those pieces that they were missing. We were able to take this drum program and have all of those skills right there left to right. Yeah, the other piece of it that I thought was interesting, the midline thing blew my mind when she went I said, Well, I'm gonna have them do this and have them do that. She goes, Oh, well, that's going to do you know, Mike. All right, that's fantastic. Left and Right, I understand left and right brain because that drummer, you use all four limbs when you play the drum set. And so you have to have independence between all four limbs. So I understand that midline and, and how that worked when she explained it to me, but I would have never thought that you know, as a, as a drummer, I was just thinking, well, we go from left to right and right to left. That's just how we do it. So I said, we're going to teach this or we're going to teach that and she would explain it in the technical form and what the child would get out. And I thought, wow, I never broke it down like that. Ever thought about that. So it's a fantastic way to teach, still have lots of fun. And the parents are able to support the child.

Deanna Maxwell  13:27  
Yeah. So when we created the program, what we really wanted to do is how do we teach these skills that the kids need? That? How do we make it really fun. And when we realize that, they really do want to play the drums. I mean, you give a pair of drumsticks to any little kid and they go crazy for hours. So how do we take that desire to do something fun, and really teach the skills that they're going to need for school. So we broke that down, we have 10 lessons in this program. And each lesson, we started with it in the goal, we want them to be able to perform a concert. So the very end of it after the 10th lesson, they're actually performing a concert for their family and friends, which is super fun. And then we kind of broke that down into what do they need to learn to get to that point, then every single lesson, he teaches the lesson to the kid, because if you could see him and see his hair, who doesn't want to look at that. It's just great fun. He's a music, you got that look, so teaches the actual lesson. But before the lesson, we have a parent video, and the parent video is actually longer than the child video because we don't want these kids to have to pay attention more than five to 10 minutes, right? So the kid videos five to 10 minutes, the parent video sometimes is longer than that. And that parent video is the two of us telling the parents this is what your child's going to learn in this lesson. And this is why we're teaching it. This is what they actually are learning from this. So not only are they learning to use their right and left hand on a drum, but this is what they're actually learning. And then we give them some enrichment activities to do with the kids after that. So let's say that a parent does less than one with their child at home. After less than one, here are three or four things you can do for the next few days to kind of work on those skills that we taught. But it's an extension. So every activity has that. So all 10 lessons have that. And at the end, it culminates in that concert, which again is another thing we're trying to teach our kids, be confident, that take pride in your work, not be afraid to get up in front of people, because another thing we see, and I know you do, as an educator, as well, is kids come into school and they're terrified to ask a question. They're embarrassed, they have their peers around them, and they don't want to look like they don't know what they're talking about. And so being able to get up in front of people and talk and show them what you can do that is a skill that we need to actually teach them. So if they learn to do that younger than when they get to school, standing in front of their class and reading, it's not the first time they've ever done that. And that's something that continues with them. I recently just had a high schoolers failing a class, I pulled them into my office to talk to him about why he's failing. And we started looking at his grades. And I said, you're making A's on everything, and you're failing these three assessments, why are you failing these tests, which is bringing you like to a D in the class, he said, Well, they're presentations, and I don't like getting up in front of people. So he was willing to fail a class because he was too embarrassed to get up in front of his friends, that confidence

Max Maxwell  16:12  
piece is huge. If you teach that when they're really young, that confidence piece really goes with them for the rest of their lives,

DJ Stutz  16:20  
right. That's something I know that we work on with my class with the kids I teach. And by the end of the year, you know, you have circle time with the little guys, right. And by the end of the year, in fact, not long after we come back from the winter break, they are running circle time, wow. It at the back of the room. And fantastic. So they know what to do, and when to come up and what their gig is. And so I do know that that's really important. And when you think about it, that there are people who are more afraid of public speaking than death, correct.

Deanna Maxwell  16:58  
That's their number one fear kids is that something

DJ Stutz  17:01  
that just magically shows up when they're an adult? No, right? Something that is built up on as they're growing up,

Deanna Maxwell  17:08  
right. It's all those little skills that you just want to get them used to before they know to be nervous, if you could get them doing that at a really young age. Another thing that we've seen is we have a lot of grandparents that are either raising their grandchildren, or they have them after school, we have a lot of aunts and uncles that are watching nieces and nephews. And they're looking for things to do with with these kids. And so this program would be a great thing for them to do as well as you know, I get my grandchild on Thursdays, I'm going to do this program with him every Thursday. And then we're going to perform a concert for their parents and show them what we've learned. And so we really wanted to make this something that was very user friendly for anybody, you don't have to be an educator to do this. There's a lesson plan in every lesson that I've written out. And it's very basic, but it's this is kind of what we're going through. So mom and dad do this with their son, and then they send him over to Grandma's house, they can send the lesson plan with them there too. And then say, hey, go over this with them. Another thing we have in this that I thought was really important is we have some pages, I call them the school book pages. But the parents can print them out, put them in a binder, and then teach their child how to be responsible. So they have they're responsible for this binder, because it has their it's their school book. It has their drumsticks in it. And then before they do this every time they can say hey, go get your school book, it's time for class and show them how to be prepared for class, go get the belongings that you need, bring them back, sit down. And now let's get started. Because again, that's another skill a lot of kids lack not thinking ahead to how to be prepared, and they show up to school without the things that they need. And so that's another skill. Every piece of this, we've tried to think about what are skills that we can teach? And how do we put those into this program. So they won't even realize that they're learning it, it's just going to be fun for them. But it's something that's going to reiterate those skills that they need.

DJ Stutz  18:58  
I totally love though the approach that you're taking of taking something that kids automatically just love and and then integrating that with your education background. And so that it's purposeful. And you see that end in mind. Exactly. I love the way that you've integrated that and made it so accessible to kids. And I know we were talking, I guess about a week ago and I mentioned how my youngest son who is Mr. ADHD of the world, when he was his five or six and we had a neighbor, a couple houses down the street. We lived on a cul de sac and one Saturday morning they show up about you know 730 And I'm just busy getting up getting ready and the kids are doing their thing and they're knocking on the door and they have Christian with them and said that he showed up before six o'clock and in their house. I don't know they must not have locked their door but he was banging on the drums because he had One of the drum lessons and he said, we just let him go for about an hour because he was having so much fun. I'm like, thank you. But he loved the drones. And I think that for when you hear that they don't take kids at these early ages is so sad because that's the age boy or girl, man, you sit them in front of drums to make noise. And to be part of that they they're starting to work out rhythms, which is a whole nother brain exercise. And all of this I, I just love the way that you've integrated this program. And you're actually targeting the kids at the age where it's going to accomplish the most good for them intellectually.

Max Maxwell  20:48  
Yeah, and we want them to have that experience so that when it is time when they've gone through this program, and it is time for them to go to the music store, they're even more prepared, when they sit down with the first instructor, we want them to have that experience with that first instructor that is that takes them to another level that they feel more confident walking into that first lesson. Because I know, when I was a kid and went to my first music lesson, when I was 10 years old, I was freaked out. And I my dad play drums. And so I've been around a lot. But I was freaked out about sitting in a room with an instructor and having them explain it to me. So for us to give them those skills early on, and whether they decide to do anything with it. Now, they may pick it up when they're 30 years old, and go, You know what, I did this when I was five years old, and I loved it. And I'm going to really spend some time now and learn how to do it so that I can teach my kids how to do it. That experience of having that at that young age, I think it's really important.

DJ Stutz  21:47  
Yeah, I'd love for you to talk just a second about the parent connection to with involvement with the child. So are they there listening to the lesson, as you Max are presenting it, I know you've got the parent video ahead of time. But is there a further connection between parent and child on this?

Max Maxwell  22:10  
I think that the age, I mean, I think a three year old definitely needs the parent, we believe that the connection here is to have the parent involved. And as you know, and as all educators know, that's so important for that child to be successful throughout their school career, whether that is going to college, or whatever it is to have some sort of support with your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, like we said, having that support there is really, really important. And I know we put this thing together to have an experience with an adult, someone who can mentor and help. And so that's really how we put it. But

Deanna Maxwell  22:51  
yeah, it's it's definitely not a program to just plop your child in front of and go off and make dinner. Yeah, it's not gonna work that way. Although the lesson is five to 10 minutes long, there are still going to be times during that lesson where they may want to pause it and go over something with their child, especially depending on the age, if it's a three year old, they're going to have to stop at every minute to two minutes and kind of go over that with them. We also built in numerous things in the video, that kind of forces parent involvement. So there's numerous times where Max will say, Okay, now you're going to pause the video and you're going to go off with your adult and you're going to find blah, blah, blah, find something in your house that looks like a drum or things like that. So it's something that forces that as well. There's a couple times where we have something set to the side that we tell the parent in the video ahead of time, hey, you're going to want to have this ready, because during the child video, we're going to ask you to bring it out. So that piece I think is incredibly important. You know, as well as I do working in schools, the kids that have parent involvement, and other helping them there, they already have that that heads up that above everybody else. And so having that parent there with them. So this is definitely a parent child. Course, we always use the word adult in the videos, we don't say parent because it's an adult that may be doing it with the child, it could be an aunt and uncle, an older brother and sister, a grandparent, they could be doing this at a daycare with their daycare provider. So he uses the word heavier adult, blah, blah, blah are happy to sit, turn and talk to your adult. I know the very first lesson is probably one of my favorites because it asked them to we don't want to give away too much. But it asked them to differentiate between sounds in their house. And as simple as that sounds. When you go to learn to read, you have to be able to discriminate between sounds. And watching kids do that. That educator brain gets really excited because inside I'm thinking oh my gosh, they're learning how to listen to sounds and you know, and he's thinking yes, I'm making a drummer. So it's kind of funny when We were creating this program because I was geeking out on the educator piece, and he wants to fill the world with as many drummers as possible,

Max Maxwell  25:07  
I want him to be able to listen because to me playing music is isn't language isn't language, Play Music is a language. And if if I don't listen, when I'm having a conversation, which I don't a lot when I'm when my wife is talking to me that I always find that I get myself in trouble. And the more I learn how to listen, and that's a big part of the first lesson is hearing and listening and find your favorite sound, you know, and they don't even know what their favorite sound is, right now, they have no idea what their favorite sound is. But for them to be able to find that, and have that and know what that is. And know the differences between this and that sound. It's incredible. It teaches them so much. Yeah.

Deanna Maxwell  25:51  
And so going back to your how involved for the parents is, we want these parents to be as involved as they possibly can, which is why we have the parent video before the lesson. And we have the enrichment activities after the lesson. And so even though the child video is geared towards the child, we still want that parent to be involved. But there is a little bit of I don't want to call it work. But there's a little bit of work on the parent part of or the adults part of watching this video before. And then following up with those extension activities after. And I think that it also, I have four kids. And as a parent, there are times that I don't know what to do with my kids, we get up, we get up on a Saturday, and it's a snow day and we don't know what to do or it's summer. And I would have loved to have had something like this. And I found myself we used to watch out of the box. I don't remember that program at all. But there was a show on way back in the day when my kids were little called out of the box. And we loved it because they had these little activities in it that they would do. And then I could always do that with my kids afterwards. And I loved being able to do that. And I think that kind of when we were creating this, I kept thinking about that show thinking about wow, I used to love being able to do these little activities. So that's kind of how the enrichment activity piece came about is I remembered how much fun I had doing those things with my own kids. And so we wanted to build those things in for adults to do with their kids as well. They do not have to have a drum to do this program at all. We have them create something or make something or find something in the house. They have drumsticks but that's part of the program. So when they purchased the program, we mailed the drumsticks to their house. And I don't know if you want to talk a little bit about the drumsticks, but they are custom you have to Yeah, they're fantastic.

Max Maxwell  27:34  
For Kids, what I found manufacturers make a child's drum stick and a lot of times it has a really pointed end on it. And what I wanted to do is have a stick that for one thing was larger and more comfortable for the child to put in their hand.

DJ Stutz  27:50  
Because a lot of times I larger you kind of mean batter, batter batter,

Max Maxwell  27:54  
I want it to be a little bit bigger round because you have to think about the blocks and things that they play with. Their hands are not quite developed to be able to know exactly I want this size drumstick because there's tons of different types and sizes of drumsticks. The other piece of it is I wanted something that was round had a more rounded tip on it not something that was pointed. So we created a drumstick that is perfect size for a child that's three to seven years old. It it it doesn't have appointed in so that it's not a weapon doesn't look like a weapon. And it's a drumstick, you know, it's it's it feels good in their hand. It's the right size. And it's it's fantastic. I love the drumsticks

Deanna Maxwell  28:42  
he does love.

Max Maxwell  28:43  
It's the same, quite frankly, it's the same size drum stick that I play. I don't play the short one like a little short one. But I play a standard sized stick that's similar to the same drum stick

Unknown Speaker  28:53  

Deanna Maxwell  28:55  
Yeah, it's we've had quite a few. We've been to quite a few places where kids have been using our drumsticks and it's it's so fun to watch them be able to hold them in the way that they hold them and how excited they get. They just get so excited when you put a pair of drumsticks in their hands. It's just amazing to watch.

Max Maxwell  29:11  
I want to sleep with them.

Deanna Maxwell  29:12  
They did not sleep with we did. One parent told us that she texted us after and center. My daughter wants to sleep with her drumsticks we're like well, I guess that's okay.

DJ Stutz  29:23  
No problem. One of the elements that I really liked going back to the parent involvement is I think it's such a great idea to get them used to it three and four years old at their parents being involved in their learning. And it's setting a precedence for when they go to school, that parents were involved in this part of learning. And so that's a logical next step for the parents to be able to be involved in continued areas of learning and so you're setting just a great precedence for your little guys. Yeah, I love those little guys. Yeah, they're fine too.

Max Maxwell  29:58  
Those are the fun ones.

DJ Stutz  30:00  
They are, we have

Deanna Maxwell  30:01  
a lot of ideas that once we started this, they just started spinning. And so we're already working on a little drummer to, we're going to keep moving on with that, because you can only teach so much in 10 lessons, especially when you're breaking them down into such small minute details. So we've already continuing on to go a little gem or two. And then the greatest thing I think about this as our company name is moving with the Maxwell's because our kids are also involved in this. And so our next program after that is I believe it's going to be our daughter that does hers first, and she's a dancer, he's been dancing for, what, 1520 years now, she's going to do a program and then our son's going to do one. So each of them have something that they have a skill that they want to teach as well. And so I'm going to help them create those lessons where they're going to sit down and kind of like he did is I said, What does it take to be a drummer? What's the very first thing that you learn? And then he would show me what it was? And then I would break that down into terms of, okay, how do we teach these other skills by using that? So we're gonna do the same thing with our kids. So the coming programs will all be taught by the Maxwell's but they'll just not gonna all be drumming.

Max Maxwell  31:05  
Yeah. And they won't all be drumming, that's for sure.

DJ Stutz  31:07  
Well, that's fun. And it provides a variety of interests. But exactly, I have yet to meet a three or four year old that you put sticks in their hands and let them drum. They say no.

Deanna Maxwell  31:19  
Yeah, that they're not interested. Yeah, we have yet to meet one. Yeah, we have yet to meet. Now I can't say the parents after a while or they want them to stop drumming. Yes. But the the skills that those kids are learning are so incredibly important. And

Max Maxwell  31:33  
Deanna does such a great job explaining that in the parent video. Breaking it down. Like I said, she would say things while we were doing that video, and I'd be looking at her like, I had no idea that that's what I was teaching. You know, I had no idea. I was teaching that it's it's so it's very impressive as she broke that down

DJ Stutz  31:51  
a fabulous marriage and a great resource. Parents,

Deanna Maxwell  31:55  
we go together. Well, that is for sure. Yes,

Max Maxwell  31:58  
we have a good time doing it's fun. We've had a lot of Yeah, it's a it's a great

Deanna Maxwell  32:01  
time creating them. The hardest part I think of all of this is we wanted to over teach. And I think you know, as an educator, too, it's so easy to say, well, I want to teach them this skill. But when you break down that skill, there are seven skills to get there. We actually started out thinking we're going to do five lessons. And then when we started doing them, I kept saying there's no way we can get a child to learn that much in one lesson, we're going to have to break this down. And so then it became seven lessons. And it became eight lessons. And it became nine lessons. And I said, Okay, we got to stop at 10. I mean, we could go on forever. So let's do this for 10. And then we'll break that down. And but it was really amazing when you really start to break down each individual thing, how many other skills they have to know in order to do that one. So he would instantly jump to Well, I want him to do this, I want him to be able to go back and forth. I said, Okay, well hold on, you got to teach them how to hold the sticks first. So you got to teach them how to do that. It's okay, well, now that they know how to hold the sticks, we're gonna go to this beat. And I'm like, Okay, well, they now know how to hold the sticks, but they don't know how to tap the sticks on a drum head. So we have to teach that as well. So each of those little individual things, and he even goes through how a drum was made so that they can understand that. So it's all those little pieces of skills that we want them to know. So that that first half of that is just all the skills of how do you hold it? How do you tap it? How does a drum made water sound? So it's all those little tiny things before they can even get to that point where they can play something.

DJ Stutz  33:26  
It's just amazing. I love what you're doing. So if people want to get more information, where do they go,

Max Maxwell  33:33  
they go to move in with the Maxwell's dot com that's moving mo vi n with the And there's a breakdown of the program on there. It shows everything that's within the program. It's got a couple of videos of us talking about it and the skills that they'll learn. And there's some funny stuff on there

Deanna Maxwell  33:53  
a couple videos with some kids, we can see them doing it, and it's doing it and the I want to call it the syllabus, but it's it's basically the curriculum, it shows this is what the lessons look like. So that's on there as well.

DJ Stutz  34:05  
That's great. And so I will also put that in our show notes. I'll put a link in there. So if parents are interested, they can just go down into the show notes and click on that link and they'll get to you. Yes, thank

Max Maxwell  34:19  
you. Sure.

DJ Stutz  34:20  
I end all of my conversations. I don't like to call them interviews. But I end all my conversations with the same question. I would like each of you to answer. How do you define a successful parent?

Deanna Maxwell  34:33  
You go first on this one, I need a second to think.

Max Maxwell  34:37  
Okay. I think a parent has to be a good listener. I think a parent has to love and I think a parent has to be a great mentor. Those are the three things that I really think if a parent had those three skills, they'd be a pretty darn good parent.

DJ Stutz  34:54  
Excellent. I love that. You have all those.

Deanna Maxwell  34:58  
Ah well Our kids would say that about you,

Max Maxwell  35:01  
maybe? Well, well, I'm gonna ask him

Deanna Maxwell  35:05  
or call him tonight. Okay, that's really hard. My gut reaction, what I wanted to say was that they love their kids unconditionally. But I don't know that that's what I want to say. Because there are people that love their kids unconditionally. And that turns out badly. So I think what I would want to say, somebody that is willing to continue to learn about their child. I think so many times, we just assume we know our kids. And we stop asking questions. I would agree with that. We stop learning, we just, we know who they are. And we just continue to parent and they mold. They changed so much

Max Maxwell  35:47  
over time, and a lot of the time that goes past, even what our brain can comprehend where they're going sometimes. And so you just really have to be open. Yeah, to what they're going through and how they're dealing with things and how they're growing. Or not growing, and support them the best you possibly can.

Deanna Maxwell  36:07  
Yeah. Yeah, I'm sticking to that answer. I think as far as working in a high school, I'm thinking my conversations with these kids now. And I have some kids that will say to me, my mom doesn't know me. My dad doesn't know me. And I think that's where that comes from is that just get to know your kids, ask them questions, love who they are. They're going to grow. They're gonna change. Just keep asking.

Max Maxwell  36:32  
So what's your answers?

Deanna Maxwell  36:34  
Yeah, I'm curious. I want to know what your you've heard a lot of people answer this question. So what is yours?

DJ Stutz  36:40  
You know, I just did a conversation with a man named Matt Ballard. And let me see he's episode 23. I think I loved one of the things that he said in his and it really resonated with me was, and I think it speaks to what you were saying, is that good is not an acceptable answer. When I ask how your day is, mm hmm, I'm not a just good dad, isn't how he I think put it but how he really wanted to know, what were the highlights? And what were the low lights? And how are you feeling about this teacher, this assignment or the things that are going on in your life. And I think that it goes along a lot with what you guys were saying is that I think a good parent truly has a relationship with their child, beyond running them to this, and getting their homework to them and making their lunches or whatever. But really having those long conversations and that your child knows that whether their decisions are good or bad, that you're still there for them

Deanna Maxwell  37:57  
to help them work

DJ Stutz  37:58  
through it. When you really have that relationship, that deep relationship with your child. I think that that's really what's going to set you on the best

Deanna Maxwell  38:07  
trap as well, you know, my second answer, the one I was struggling, I couldn't come up between the two is that I found myself saying this a lot to our kids. And I say this a lot as a principal as well. It is not my job for you to like me. But it's my job to make hard decisions that are going to set you up to be successful as an adult. And I think that is another piece of that is, yes, it's important to have that relationship and to get to know your child, but it's just as important to not be scared to make hard decisions that are going to upset them. It's so much easier, that it's so much easier to do something to make them happy. But that is not in the end going to help them at all. Right. And I think that that is a very hard thing to learn as a parent, yes. You don't want your child to be happy. And you think if they're happy, you're doing a good job. And that's not necessarily the case.

DJ Stutz  38:59  
No, in fact, I've done one of my shows on if your goal is to make your kids happy you're failing. As a parent, your goal is to make them into good, honorable individuals, and sometimes doing the honorable thing or the good thing is not the happy thing. Thank you so much.

Deanna Maxwell  39:19  
Thank you for having us and taking the time out of your day. Thanks.

DJ Stutz  39:22  
Well and same to you. And I just wish you all the success and I hope maybe down the road, we'll come back and see what you've added on to your program and maybe some of your stories and I'd love to hear about it.

Deanna Maxwell  39:34  
Absolutely. Thank you so much appreciate it.

DJ Stutz  39:37  
Thank you. The Maxwell's have so much energy. And what a great idea. When you take an activity that children just love to do naturally and engage them and then connect that with the skills that they are going to need as they learn to read and write, to have social skills to be able to see stand up in front of a group, the more success you set them up for who knew that drummy of all things would lead children to better reading, when they have their tracking ability, crossing the midline. When they're able to differentiate sound, from what one drum might sound like, as opposed to the cabinets in the kitchen, they are going to become better readers as they are able to hear the different sounds that come in words, it's a great way to get your kids started on so many levels to prepare for learning in education. educators know that children involved in music, have a head start in math as well as reading and writing. And we also know that music engages many children with learning differences. And what I love about the Maxwells approach is that as with almost everything, you are your child's first teacher and greatest fan. And I love approaches that bring relationships along with confidence. So consider what it is that you do well, and what you love to do. And the more you engage your children with you, the stronger those bonds are to get you through the challenging times that most certainly come in life. So if you have a story of including your child or children in doing something you enjoy, I would love to hear it. Just email me at and become one of my imperfect heroes. So I've included links to both moving with the Maxwells website, and the crashers in the Episode Notes. I would love for you to listen to our Tuesday night lives on Facebook. It's a chance for you to engage, ask questions, and go maybe a little deeper with our topic. And if you miss it, we are starting to post them on my YouTube channel, which is Little Hearts Academy USA, so you can try and catch it there. Are you up to date on all things imperfect heroes, register for my free newsletter at www.LittleHeartsAcademyUSA and never miss a beat. 

And in my next episode, I am talking with Michelle Benigno Michelle has managed through one of the most difficult things I think can happen to a parent, the death of a child and Michelle learned that in working through her grief. She also needed to help her young daughter work through her grief as well. So learn what I mean by tuning in to our next episode. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Linger Longers so if you live in the northern hemisphere, I'm sure you've noticed that the temperatures are lowering with the season. We know that children who spend time outside even in the colder temperatures statistically have stronger immune system and stronger social skills. So grab your coat and gloves and head outside with your kids.

Transcribed by

Max and Deanna MaxwellProfile Photo

Max and Deanna Maxwell

Co Owners, Movin' with the Maxwells

Max Maxwell is a professional musician who has made a career out of his love of music. He has been playing drums since he could hold a drumstick and has performed and recorded with numerous local, regional and national groups. including Trace Adkins, Kidd Rock, Chaka Kahn, NSync, Michael McDonald, Days of the New and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. He has also performed on the nationally televised Grand Ole Opry. Currently, Max can be seen playing with the Crashers. Check them out at
Deanna Maxwell has dedicated her life to the education of children. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Indiana University, she moved to Hawaii where she taught children in a residential psychiatric hospital. After moving back to Indiana, she obtained her Masters Degree in Special Education and spent over 16 years in the classroom teaching students from every grade level from K-college before becoming a school administrator. She is currently working as an assistant principal in the same high school she graduated from almost 30 years ago.

Little Drummer is a creation of the husband and wife team, Max and Deanna Maxwell, a professional musician and a lifelong educator. Little Drummer is an engaging course for preschool and early elementary aged children that fills the gap between when your child is begging you to play the drums and when they are developmentally ready for lessons at your local music store. Our program will teach the basic skills needed to be a drummer while simultaneously teaching essential skills your child will need to be successful in school and in life! Listening Comprehension, Fine Motor Skills, Hand Eye Coordination and Focus... just to name a few! We provide you with detailed parent videos explaining what your child is learning and why they are learning it. We also provide engaging and fun child videos for your child to follow along with as Max turns them into a Little Drummer! We also include super fun enrichment activities you can do with your child after the lesson that will build on the skills being taught. Best of all... our program comes with FREE custom drumsticks, designed by Max, made especially for preschool-aged hands! We hope you join us today! We can't wait to meet your Little Drummer!