I’ve been asked to write a short article about the books I’ve written that I feel are the most important to use with students. At this point I only teach professional players, but for many years I had a studio in New York during which time I took all students at any level. Every student is different and I , like all teachers on any instrument, have to tailor my teaching to each individual student. Certainly one can’t teach a student of seven years old the same way you can teach a person who’s 21. But on the whole I can say there is a basic system I used when a rank beginner 12 or older came to me to start taking lessons.
I view drumming falling into the following four essential categories:
Reading, Technique, Coordination, and Basic Beats.
Each of the four categories breaks into different branches. For instance, a student should first learn to read basic rhythm, then that reading should be applied to both classical music and reading charts for playing shows. Technique has to do with developing speed, control, dynamics, rudiments, solos, etc. Coordination needs to be developed for two, three, and four limbs as applied to rock, jazz and Latin. And it’s essential to learn all basic beats for playing with a dance band including ethnic beats. Of course there are many other aspects I’m leaving out, but remember this article is focused strictly on the books I feel are necessary to use with a beginning student.
The books I suggest are as follows:
TEACHING RHYTHM is the first book I use for reading—it covers all the rhythms one needs to know from A-Z. That book is used in conjunction with THE MINI MONSTER BOOK OF ROCK DRUMMING. Since most students who first come to lessons want to play rock, this is the go-to book—it covers most every aspect of playing rock other than linear drumming, and that topic is covered in several other books of mine. The next book is STICKING PATTERNS—it's the go-to book for developing all aspects of technique. The fourth book I add is THE FANTASTIC JAZZ DRUM BOOK. The title says it all—this book covers two, three, and four way coordination within the jazz idiom.
As well as the core books mentioned above I use a manuscript book to write out special exercises that I feel are needed with different students.
In time I use the following titles as follow-up books for intermediate level:
ORCHESTRAL SNARE DRUMMING
MUSICAL STUDIES FOR THE INTERMEDIATE SNARE DRUMMER
READING SYNCOPATION FOR SNARE DRUM
DRUMMING IN THE RHYTHM OF ROCK
ROCK BREAKS AROUND THE DRUMS
ROCK ETUDES FOR DRUM SET
THE BIBLE OF LINEAR DRUMMING
DRUMMING AND ALL THAT JAZZ
JAZZ ETUDES FOR DRUM SET
LINEAR JAZZ DRUMMING
THE NEW RUDIMENTS OF DRUMMING
RUDIMENTS AROUND THE DRUMS
RUDIMENT ETUDES FOR SNARE DRUM
Please keep in mind that there are many other possible books I use depending
on what I feel are the individual needs, desires, and capabilities of the individual student. Also, there’s a whole other series of books I use for teaching to read real drum charts and for the classical repertoire, but they are not used to start off new students.