Drumset For Beginners

“The Drummers’ Guide to Teaching and Learning the Drumset”

Drumset For Beginners

The first line of this post would be easier to write if I could remember where I first came across this book. Suffice it to say that I read a couple of reviews and in a rare moment of extravagance, I ordered it.

Drumset For Beginners by Paul Hose & Jim Farey sets out from the very beginning to put the creativity of the student (and necessarily the teacher) at the forefront of the learning process. It is a comprehensive curriculum for taking a person from their first groove to being a well-rounded drummer. The book presents a clear roadmap for progressing students through the sometimes bumpy terrain of learning an instrument. It is flexible without being wishy-washy and I found myself thoroughly stimulated and challenged by the writers’ approach. Every section of the book includes good advice to help teachers put across the material.

Lesson one presents the beginning drum student with a very simple groove. Once learned, the student moves straight on to creating a few bass and snare variations and then arranging passages of music using the grooves learned. Then we get on with a very simple 16th note fill and without too much messing about, go from the obligatory “obvious fill of all time” to a few nice variations with the emphasis, again, on the student coming up with their own ideas.

The book continues in this fashion – working through fundamental concepts of grooves and fills always emphasising the nascent drummer’s creativity in being able to take each lesson and apply one’s own interpretation.

Reading exercises are presented as useable groove and fill examples with, of course, advice on how to create your own grooves and fills based on the ideas demonstrated.

By the end of the first two chapters of the book, students have a decent repertoire of rock grooves, notation from quarters to sixteenths, loads of fills ideas, ability to play along to their favourite music and a stack of ideas about how to make the instrument their own.

Now the writers do something cool – we are given an option to move to chapter three (Jazz) or four (Latin), again offering the student the choice of which style to study. The lessons in both chapters offer a fantastic set of fundamentals to get get students familiar with both styles and which will provide a great stylistic and technical underpinning for developing drummers of all varieties.

Not content with passing on their considerable knowledge of drumming and drum-teaching methods, Drumset For Beginners is jam-packed with recommendations of books and DVDs students and teachers can use to go deeper in to each of the subjects taught. The appendix contains a wealth of information about what music to listen to, music notation, the playalong tracks and much more.

The CD that accompanies the book is very thorough and includes several great backing tracks. Unfortunately, the samples were recorded using some sort of hideous electronic drum set, the sound of which I can’t stand, bearing in mind I am a total Luddite where these things are concerned. I am sure it was a practical choice for the writers and won’t offend the vast majority but – yuck.

I have a couple of minor things to moan about – some lessons seem to require using texts from other books to get the most out of them. It is annoying to have to buy a book as an adjunct to this book to get the full gist of the lesson. Also, there is little or no mention of basic technical stuff like grip and stroke, posture and the art of practicing (so far as I have read).

All in all, I really like this book and have started using its ideas with my students and am having very positive results. I feel like I have been given a very clear method to explore which differs from my approach in many ways but which has enough flexibility to enable me to try stuff out and see what fits and what doesn’t.

Check it out here.

P.S. – When I contacted the writers about a query I had with the book, I was delighted to get a very quick and friendly response from Jim Farey. Although they haven’t quite got their website together and are not using the social networking tools that are included there to their best advantage (I know how that feels…), responsiveness to customers is a huge boon in my opinion and certainly contributed to me writing this review.

2 Comments

  1. Hey Joe,

    Thanks for the great review, you obviously delved deep! I wish more people were like you and I and just heard about a great product and ordered it! I imagine it was in Drummer magazine that you heard about it ;).

    Enormous amount if positivity coming from you and it’s great to see that we’re on the same wavelength when it comes to putting the learner in the driver’s seat and in charge of their own development. I’m sorry that the (solo drum) audio examples don’t sound how you’d like. The good budget was gone in terms of time and cost by the time they were done. But they sound like grooves at least!

    As for the grip/stroke/posture I have seen many big name endorsers say things which I totally disagree with and am always lightning fast to quote Bobby Arechiga who taught me, “if someone tells you that there is only one way of doing something, then don’t listen to them”, I spoke to him again recently and he told me it was Chapin who said that to him. Gold! I hope that with a small amount of research and a watch of the videos which are going onto YouTube, many of these things will be dealth with.

    Trying to get onto the technical internet side of things, the next major things to change will be 43 more videos (with the sound synced properly) and a website with some actual pages to click through.

    Thanks again, Joe, look forward to seeing you some time!

    Jimbo

  2. Hi Joe

    Thanks for taking the time to review the book. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Both Jim and I appreciate the feedback.

    Best wishes,
    Paul

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