Welcome to The Everything® Rock Drums Book! This publication will not only teach you how to play rock drums, it will show you how to be a better musician. Will you actually learn everything about rock drumming? No book can literally teach you everything there is to know about any topic. This book does, however, detail the salient points of playing rock. In other words, it outlines the key elements of rock drumming and it gives you the information you need to make wise musical decisions. Ultimately, this book is designed to enlighten, inspire, and empower.
The body of The Everything® Rock Drums Book is structured in three distinct parts. This system excludes Chapter 1, which is a brief historical primer. The first major section—Chapters 2–11—is cumulative and sequential: It's a series of interconnected building blocks that move from basic note reading to more advanced rock grooves, fills, and solos. The goal with this section is to teach you how to read music, how to develop stick control, how to play various beats, how to orchestrate fills around the kit, and how to solo in a logical and meaningful manner.
The first section of this book mentions specific drummers, but the second part—Chapters 12–17—is centered on the innovators themselves. In this section, you will analyze real players, learn a little bit about their backgrounds, and gain insight into each drummer's legacy. Where possible, this book has tried to avoid overloading you with reams of biographical material since, in most cases, this can be found online with relative ease. Therefore, each chapter in section two focuses on drummer X's sound and style. Where possible, musical examples support the text. These examples are not literal transcriptions; they are notational outlines used to illuminate the underlying musical idea behind each beat, fill, or solo.
The third section of the book deals with musical concepts, tips, and resources. This ranges from maintaining a positive attitude to playing in a band to choosing the right drum set for you. Lastly, two appendices are provided. One focuses on essential recordings, books, and DVDs; the other is a comprehensive list of websites about drums and drumming.
Overall, The Everything® Rock Drums Book moves through beginner material rather quickly. So if you're brand new to drumming, you should first learn from a basic snare drum manual; there are many on the market to choose from. This book jumps into real rock drumming rather quickly, and this requires you to have some prior experience with the instrument.
The accompanying disc features many of the original beats, fills, and solos found in this book. However, due to the space limitations, each beat is played only twice and each fill is played only once. Also, only select beats and fills are played from most figures. The examples performed on the CD are listed underneath the music. On the CD, the tempo of each pattern is moderate, except when the music is intended to be fast. Tempo indications should be viewed as goals, not commandments.
When playing the notated examples, you will see repeat symbols used. Where multiple examples are grouped together in a list (e.g. 1–8), the repeat symbol is used only at the end of the example. In an actual piece of music, a start repeat would be written at the beginning of the section to show you where to repeat back to. In a real musical context, if one is not indicated, you should assume that the repeat takes you back to the beginning of the song. However, in this book, you should not assume this! The repeat symbols simply mean to go back and repeat the beginning of the specific exercise you are practicing; this is usually a one-measure beat or fill.
When reading drum set notation, be sure to read it vertically, or up and down. If you don't, your beats will not be aligned properly. Here's how it works: Instruments that play together are lined up vertically in the notation. For example, if you see a hi-hat note on beat one and a bass drum note directly under it on beat one, you should assume that these instruments are played simultaneously. The same would be true of a snare drum note that is vertically aligned with a cymbal or a tom-tom, etc. Attention to detail is crucial here. If you don't understand how to play something, listen to the CD. If it is not performed on the disc, or you still don't understand it, study the corresponding text. If you're still confused, find a qualified instructor to coach you.