There are certain things about drumming that I would recommend all drummers learn from the day that start playing.
The first is rudiments, the second is stick technique and the third is learning to read and write drum notation.
There are a lot of drummers out there that never learned how to read and write music for the drums. Some of them are great drummers, such as Dave Grohl.
However it is a skill that will help you develop, and will increase your overall understanding of drumming. I’ll be telling you the reasons why you should learn to read and write drum music, and how it can help improve your skills over time.
This all depends on the individual. I will however say that drum notation is notoriously easy in comparison to other instruments. With drum notation the main things you need to learn are; time signatures, dynamics, where are drums are placed and how to play certain notes.
Unlike other instruments that will have multiple staves (the lines on the page) for different octaves, drum notation only has one. Each gap in the stave represents a different drum, with the cymbals being placed above the stave. Drum music is written for five piece drum kits, so there is essentially only five parts of the stave that you need to learn.
Time signatures are probably the trickiest aspect of reading and writing drum music. However, learning to read them is a skill that will be developed with not only practice but also listening. In short, all a time signature is, is a way to tell the drummer how many beats are within a bar, and what the value of each note is. Once you have had a few drum lessons you’ll be able to understand how to count time. This will be picked up automatically after learning a few beats.
Dynamics are one of the most overlooked aspects of drumming. Many drummers ignore them completely, even though they can give your playing a whole new edge and make even the simplest of beats sound exciting.
Dynamics are stated at the top of the stave whenever the volume needs to be changed in the drum piece. Learning how to control dynamics on the drums will drastically increase your overall control of the kit.
If you come up with a great beat, fill or solo you will have a way of writing it down and remembering it. Sometimes a drummer can play something, and then forget what they played five minutes later. By being able to write things down you will be able to increase your overall drumming vocabulary, and thus improve your skills.
Reading drum music opens a whole new set of doors for drummer that they may have never otherwise discovered. If you can read drum music then you’ll be able to learn new things from books and the internet, and in this day and age that is how a lot of drummers start to learn. Quite simply, being able to play something you wouldn’t otherwise understand can’t be a bad thing!
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