A graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, drummer Joe Corsello has played with jazz legends from Benny Goodman and Sonny Rollins to Mike Mainieri. Corsello’s work as a professional musician and as a teacher lends authority to this instruction book for the beginning drummer.
Corsello assumes no prior knowledge on the part of readers. He starts with brief discussions of the basics of reading music: the clefs, time signatures, notes and their rhythmic values and so on. He also includes a page about how to hold a drumstick correctly. Next, he offers pages of music, beginning with the simplest of rhythmic patterns and then graduating to increasingly complex rhythms played on the snare drum alone. He then introduces the bass drum, the hi-hat and the ride cymbal.
Finally, and only after the student has mastered each element in the drum set played individually, Corsello combines the various elements of the kit to teach “complete independence,” i.e. the coordination that allows the drummer to play different rhythms with each hand or foot. By the time the student has reached the end of the book, he or she has acquired the ability to read a chart that incorporates the entire drum set. The author also presents beats that are idiomatic to jazz and rock styles of drumming.
Corsello’s book is a solid, basic introduction for the complete beginner. More advanced students might also benefit from breaking down more complex patterns and playing the rudiments the author teaches.
One element the book is missing is an accompanying CD or a link to audio or video online where the student can hear or see the author performing the exercises. The book contains a few photos, but it would be helpful to see the professional drummer in action, since the proper techniques are all-important to effective training on any musical instrument, including the drums.
Except for this omission, Corsello has composed a useful primer for the aspiring percussionist.
Also available as an ebook.