Sometimes it’s hard to find books for intermediate level. It is is typically really easy to find books everywhere that’s based on finding books for the beginner. Or for the drummer that has no idea where to start. However, finding books for someone that already knows to basics and wants to now go to the next level can be difficult. There is far less material out their for someone at the Intermediate level.
Music books stores tend to stock lots of books for the beginner but not for the Intermediate level drummer. If you sit and think for a while on why this is so. You would rapidly come to the conclusion that learning how to read drum music is much like other Instruments and hobbies that require you to learn something. Many new drummers or Percussionists perceive that it is going to be easy and then rapidly realize that it was harder than they thought to learn how to read. Then sadly they push it aside and give up. If you made it this far to intermediate level. Then you made it through the hard part. Trust me!
As we all know, it is important to not give up and I am going to try to make it a lot easier for you. I am going to help you by writing a list that I wish that I had when I was at the intermediate level. Hopefully, by the time that you are done reading this article about which books are right for you, you will have a good idea on which books to get next.
By now, you should also check out this article about good study practices for the intermediate level drummer. But first finish reading this article about the books that you should have and then snap right over to this article to get spicific advice about being an intermediate drummer / percussionist.
In that article we cover
- Sticking with it.
- Creating a good study program.
- Constantly challenging yourself.
- Knowing how to practice.
- Finding a good teacher to help you.
- And, other sorts of things that help you on your path to success in becoming a drummer/percussionist that is a monster on the drum set.
Once you are at the intermediate level of reading drum music. You have to first recognize that it is much different from when you were studying as a beginner. As a beginner, you probably prioritized your time mainly on learning “How To Read” in general. You need to know how to count and identify the notes on the page and get at least introduced to what a roll looks like, what triplets look like, what snare drum music looks like and know what drumset music looks like. Its alright if you can not sight read. Or play it well. You just need to be able to identify what these kinds of things look like.
Know where you are lacking.
Once you know those things said above. As an intermediate level drummer. It is now time for you to do a deep assessment on where you are lacking most. In order for you to have reached this point in your development you must have gone through at least 3 books already and if you completed any of those well rounded books. Then you have already been hit with all of the major areas of reading and drumming. It is up to YOU to decide what area you now need help in. You should start with making up a list of the areas you need help with and go from there. Also, it is important to note, that the parts that you “hated” the most, is probably the area that you need the most help in.
List of Areas to Development
Here is a list of areas that you as an intermediate drummer should begin to be challenged with. Ask yourself on each topic how good you are with them. And identify the ones that you can use some help with. Then down below, I will list out books that will help you for each of those spicific areas.
List of Areas to Develop.
Broken up into two sections. The first is for the snare drum and the second is for drum set. As an intermediate level drummer, you should be able to do all of the things listed below. Choose the ones that you need the “most” help with. Then get a book to help you with it. Listed below. Typically, if you play on the drum set. Then you would be a student of both areas. If you are a marching snare player. Then you would probably prioritize your time on only the snare drum playing. If you play malodic drumming. Then you would prioritize your time on snare drum playing aspects along with melodic (melody) music reading. Which is not covered in this article. However, a student of marimba for instance. Then you would want to do all of the development of a snare drum playing for the coordination and then roll into more music that designed for the marimba etc.
Snare drum playing
- Reading standard symmetrical 4/4 or 2/4 snare drum music.
- Reading asymmetrical 3/4, or 6/8 music. (Identifying and playing odd times are not an intermediate level problem. That should typically be an advanced problem to fix; don’t worry about odd times now. Pick a different problem to develop first)
- Knowing all 40 rudiments, and playing them by memory.
- Playing rolls comfortably, and not panic every time they come up.
- Identifying a couple of ways that rolls look on the paper. (You may have realized by now, that rolls are written in a few different ways on paper. You should be aware of this) (one day I am going to write an article about why this phenomenon exists)
- Being able to match Left hand and Right hand. So if the music paper says hit with your left. You actually hit with your left.
- Reading and Playing Flams.
- Reading and Playing Drags.
- Being able to read handwritten music, AND, computerized printed material. (you will be surprised on how many people get stuck or shooken up when they see hand-written music. (by the way, a person that writes music is called and engraver, I am going to write an article about that one day too)
Drum Set Playing
- Reading standard 4/4 or 2/4 music across the hi-hat, ride, bass drum and snare.
- Reading a compressed staff. (when you have music with 5 lines and 4 spaces. And each space and line represents a different drum on the drum set.)
- Reading in Percussion ensemble score format. (an older format; that is still used today, one whole set of 5 lines is on drum, then another set of lines is another drum etc. All of these sets of 5 lines are tied together on a huge virtical tie together. Treating each drum as a separate instrument, sometimes. The may eliminate 4 of the lines and make it 1 lined which is then tied in) – I personally hate it! (lol I guess that is an area I need to develop)
- Reading music with Tom Tom added music.
- Reading cymbals.
- Not reading double bass yet, that is an advanced level problem.
List of books to help you with the problem you may have.
First, I would like to say that it is probably important to note that the list below is a list of books that ALL drummers or percussionist should eventually own or read in their lifetime. At least once! The reason why I say this, is because you made it up to intermediate level. You are probably here to stay! The books that I will list below are known classics and are known as being great books. Why not read all of them anyway? The books are a bit on the cheap side, for the amount of value that they offer. Even I, go back and read my intermediate stuff for fun. The only books I never go back to are my beginner level books. For me, those beginner books are boring. Because the are too simple.
So go ahead; pick the ones that you need NOW based on your current needs. Then someday in the future come back and get the other ones too anyway.
Rolls, Rolls, Rolls by
This is a great book for all drummers. I actually wanted to list this one by itself, to explain, that if you are truly at an intermediate level, then, you most likely will “NEED” this book at this point. This book is absolutely loaded with rolls and will beat you up with them. By the time you are done, you will be an absolute master at laying down rolls.
When I was just learning to play, my rolls were terrible after I finished my beginner level book. My teacher brought this book with him to my house and I was a little scared of it at first. Before I played rolls, rolls, rolls I used to absolutely suck with rolls. Before I used the book every time I saw a roll come up on the page, I would panic. The roll would crack. Or my right hand was not as fast as the left. Or I would have to try to bounce the stick. Also, at this time. My double stroke roll was not very good, and I still was not aware of the concept of how the double stroke roll was tied to the buzz roll. I later learned a lot more. Later discovering that the double stroke roll was actually the buzz roll. This is a whole different subject that deserves its own article.
List of Books for Intermediate Level Drummer
I will break this list into two sections. The two sections are books that focus on only the snare drum and also a list of drum books that focus on intermediate drum set books.
List of Intermediate Snare Drum Books
- Rolls, Rolls, Rolls, by Joel Rothman
- Triplet Control, by Joel Rothman
- Hand Exercises, by Paul Capozzoli
- Progressive Steps to Syncopation, by Ted Reed
- Progressive Studies for the Snare Drum – Book III – Advanced, by G.E. Gardner
- Modern Reading Text in 4/4, by Louis Bellson
- Fun with Triplets, by Joel Rothman
- Roll Control, Joel Rothman
- Contemporary Rudimental Studies & Solos, by Lalo Davila
- The Rudimental Cookbook, by Edward Freytag
- Flams, Ruffs & Rolls for Snare Drum, by John Beck
- Speed and Endurance Studies, by Nick Ceroli
- Developing Dexterity for the Snare Drum, by Mitchell Peters
- Sightreading for the Drums, by Paul Capozzoli
List of Intermediate Drum Set Books
- Advanced Rock Drumming, by Roy Burns
- Rockin’ Bass Drum, by John Lombardo
- Coordination Patterns with 1/16th Not Triplets, by Joel Rothman
- Around the Drums with Rhythm – Book 3, by Paul Capozzoli
- The Drummer’s Cook Book, by John Pickering
- Twenty Nine Duets for the Drums, by Paul Capozzoli
- Mini-Monster Book of Rock Drumming, by Joel Rothman
- Drum Solos and Fill-ins for the Progressive Drummer, by Ted Reed
- Famous Drum Solos and Fills, by Ted Reed
- The Turtle Factor, by Joel Rothman
- Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer, by Jim Chapin
- 1001 Drum Groves, by Steve Mansfield
Once you complete most of these books you will have an extraordinary knowledge on how to read on both the snare drum and the drum set. You will be ready to advance to the advanced level books. In my eyes, once you make it to that level; you are an “untouchable”. You can now read more than most of the drummers and percussionists that exist in the world. Only because, if you have read any of my other articles, that there are too many percussionists that never learn how to read drum music. Now, my friend, you have done it! I consider you a well-rounded reader on my scale if you complete most of the books on this list.
If you know me well by now, from reading my articles, I always say that it is important to recognize the importance of creating and maintaining a schedule. If you have made it up to Intermediate level then I am sure that you have already created a calendar of when you will practice and set a decent amount of time practice and play. Then eventually, you will advance to an even better player. Soon, you will be coming to this website to read the list of books that are good for advanced and expert drum players.