Elementary Drum Method

Written by Roy Burns

This is by far one of the best books to learn how to read drum music. This is actually my first book too. It was written a while ago. However, that does not mean that it is obsolete in any way. The older books tend to be better books. When it comes down to learning an instrument. Pretty much all of the Roy Burn Books are good. It is very difficult to pick out your first books because you would typically be new at this point and unaware of what is available to you. Allow me to take the stress off of you and recommend this book as your first!

The book also teaches the basic 26 Standard Snare Drum rudiments at the beginning. Most books typically cover this at the beginning of the book. I would suggest that if you want a more in-depth book on rudiments to look at “The Drum Rudiment Bible“, by D. Mark Agostinelli. That book is considered the absolute most complete book for rudiments and beginners should become familiar with those rudiments early on. If you want to see more about that book, check it out

The Drum Rudiment Bible, by D. Mark Agostinelli

What is inside of Elementary Drum Method, by Roy Burns

The first couple of pages Burns explains the measure and what it looks like.

  • It introduces you to bars. what double bars are, End of Strain Repeat marks, etc.
  • Introduces you to Notes and Rests, and what they look like.
  • It has the basic comparative table that will introduce you to whole notes, Half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth and thirty-second notes.
  • Talks about Dynamics and their Italian name. Such as; forte, mezzo piano, and fortissimo, etc.
  • It has a couple of pages on turning and how to properly keep a drum.
  • How to hold sticks (traditional style)
  • Then, it goes into the 26 Standard Snare Drum Rudiments.
  • Time Signatures – Mainly the 4/4 Time Signature
  • Then it begins with very easy note reading and gradually gets harder and harder as the pages are turned.

Roy Burns will take you on a journey throughout the entire book. By the time you are finished. You will have a general understanding of all the major subjects involved with reading music for the snare drum. It does not cover how to play “drum set” though. It is important to note that you have to at least read a couple of books that are about snare drum only in the beginning. It may seem slow at first. This is fine!

After a while, you will begin to see the fruits of your work. Learning how to read is extremely powerful, and will contribute greatly to your drumming and percussion life. If you have a teacher that tells you that learning how to read music is a waste of time. It means that he does not know how to read himself. Run!

What the publisher of the books says

A complete drum method containing the elementary principles of music and an introduction to bass drum and cymbals

The Publisher

. List of Best Books for Beginners

We also have an article about Roy Burns himself.

You Next Book; after Elementary Drum Method

Also, check out his book for learning how to read music around the set. I would typically suggest this book to be the next book after this book. Elementary Rock and Roll Drumming, by Roy Burns, is a wonderful book for beginners that want to learn how to read around the drum set.

Elementary Rock and Roll Drumming, by Roy Burns

Some of the reviews that I gathered from around the internet

This is a great book by a great drummer who knows how to play the drums with an amazing musicality and technical abilty. This is a great gateway to being a drummer with technique and facility. Follow the advice and studies with diligence and hard work and as you progress the rewards of this content and study will flow back in abundance. Take time to study the photos of the correct hand positions, they are by a man who knows what he is displaying and instucting.

John Hewitt

I love this little drum book. I play piano and have practiced Hanon Exercises for years. This is the “Hanon” book for drummers. Even if you are an advanced level of drumming, this book will be a challenge. Just like the Hanon book for pianists, this is a great warm up book before you start to actually play.

Amber Flynn

I am just starting the drums. This book has good techniques for the beginning drummer. I use this book to learn patterns and then use them on the drum set at a slow pace and gradually bring the tempo faster to actually play a rythm. This really does help, I believe this book will help the beginner in learning and the experienced drummer to remember things forgot. I would recommend this book for all.

Todd P.

I was first introduced to Elementary Drum Method by Roy Burns back in 1972. I was just starting to take drum lessons and my instructor advised me to get this book. He told me that it was a book that I’d never outgrow. He said that if I was a serious drummer then I would always be coming back to this book to practice rudamants and to keep my hands in shape. After 37 years of playing, I definetly see his point. This is a great book for all drummers. From the new student to the accomplished drummer, this is the book to use and never outgrow.

Chuck Rogers
What is Elementary Drum Method?

It is one of the best books for learning how to read music for the drum set. It teaches you the rudiments. This is very important! Another book that will teach you the rudiments is The Drum Rudiment Bible. Check that out too.

Product details

  • Staple Bound: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred Music (March 22, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0089898834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0089898835
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches

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