Learning To Read...

retrosonic

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So...I have been playing drums 46 years. I never learned how to read Drum Music.

Can one of you teachers recommend a great book that makes learning the basics of reading drum music easy?
 

Hop

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Check out some of the titles by Joel Rothman: http://www.joelrothman.com/books.html A good starter is Teaching Rhythm.
Also it's pretty tough to beat some of the standards out the like Louis Bellson (& Gil Breines) Modern Reading Text and Odd Time Reading Text. Both of those books are single line rhythm type that can be used on the pad/snare and then applied many different ways on the kit.
Ted Reed's Progressive Steps to Syncopation is also pretty easy to go through and can be applied a million different ways.

Another thing to consider after getting your eyes used to notation, is to buy some of the commercially produced transcription books featuring songs you already know. Plenty of great books out there featuring classic rock like Zep, Hendrix, or Rush for example from Hudson, Alfred, Hal Leonard... plenty of genres from these publishers.
 

cworrick

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Haskell Harr bk 1 is great if you just want to read the snare and bass line.

I've had great success using the Alfred's Beginning Drumset books for reading around the whole kit. It also comes with a play along CD which makes it more fun/easier.
 

Tama CW

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I'm sure there are lots of transcriptions and sight reading "learners" on YouTube where you can play along or just follow. Any basic snare drum starter book will cover all the fractional notes and how to count/read them. Once you have that, it's just a matter of multiple lines going on at once to represent the multiple drums, hi hat, and cymbals. I recently wanted to get the "Take Five" beat down pat so looked that up on Google / YouTube and found a good transcription to model.
 

dcrigger

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And in case it hasn't been mentioned enough.... Haskell Harr Book 1

Second on the... a few lessons with a teacher to get on the path is a good idea.

And no I disagree - the majority of beginning snare drum books i've ever seen aren't at all clear and methodical towards actually learning how to read - and more importantly, teaching basic rhythm vocabulary. Too many of them just explain the theory, then just plow forward too fast with variations. IMO the Harr book does this hugely important foundational material just great.
 

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What’s your preferred learning style? A visual learner might learn best by watching videos. An auditory learner learns best by hearing explanations and someone playing the notes. Lots of ways to make the learning easier and more efficient.
 

retrosonic

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CSR: For me, Auditory so i can hear how a line of notes is played correctly.
 

CSR

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I would look for a book that has a CD included that lets you listen to the patterns with rhythms and tests. Also, look for transcriptions along with the original audio.
 

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Another vote for the book I used, which got me on my way (and I had lessons, my teacher had me get a half-sized spiral bound notation notebook staff paper and we went through drum set reading playing all kinds of foundational rock beats) is HASKELL HARR BOOK 1. It covers the essential rudiments. It covers traditional grip. It covers each basic reading rhythmic notation beginning with the first lesson, simply, and moves on from each lesson gradually. I don't know of a better beginning book for reading notation. Yes, some drum set notation is different in how it is laid out on the "staff lines" but they're all the same for rhythmic music notation, which is the same for any music period.

I'd like to add that HH1 also has a musical approach, so it translates to anything else even though snare drum is placed on one part of the staff while bass drum is lower or at the bottom. And one doesn't have to play bass drum at all. One can play the snare drum part by itself. While you learn reading you then learn rudiments, which are obviously extremely useful. Accents, dynamics, etc..

It's centered around the snare drum which is very useful. It translates well to playing the drum set when you get to that point, you can pick up any other book regarding drum set playing and read it down without having issues stalling or wondering what the syncopation pattern is. By repetition it builds a foundation and you can use that foundation to sight read, even, with practice.

I guess I've said enough! I fit in easily in band in Jr High, high school and college, although I was reading through other snare drum method books as well, such as Rubank's beginning snare drum method and especially intermediate method book. Honestly once you have the foundation you are probably smart to continue finding other method books to work through and the teacher thing helps with this. I've spoken with those who use youtube but I have never EVER found a useful youtube thing. They're just a two dimensional thing; you can't discuss things, you can't emphasize things you are confused about, whereas a teacher can tailor it for you. Which is why:

I also second the getting a teacher suggestion. It's amazing how fast you can develop with a teacher who helps you take yourself through that. Auditory is very important and the teacher is there for that. You get stuck, at the next lesson teacher demonstrates it for you, and hearing it makes it much easier. But overall you're teaching yourself. Reading is a great way to do that. A good teacher has experience in performance. They can teach a lot more than just the drums part of it.
 
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