One of the most hotly debated topics among drummers relates to the benefits of learning drum notation, and reading music. While many see the advantages, there are plenty of self taught drummers out there who learned to play by feel, listening, and good old fashioned trial and error.
While this is certainly possible, there's a few compelling reasons why learning to read music will help you on your journey to becoming a competent, controlled and musical drummer. Before we dive deeper, there is also a video blog on this topic that is worth checking out.
1 - Learning to read music will help you progress faster.
If you are a beginner drummer, learning to read music is actually a quicker way to become proficient on the drums. While it's true that you can learn without developing this skill, it takes time - a lot of time. Drummers that are self taught who chose not to learn music notation honed their skills through years of practice. As a beginner drummer, you want to see progression quickly, and reading will help. Drummers who don't read music can easily get stuck in the rut of playing the same beats and fills all of the time, and can be limited in creativity. Being able to read multiple versions of beats and fills will vastly expand and improve your proficiency, without having to memorize every possible variation. Trust us, this is a massive advantage.
2 - Learning to read drum notation helps build control.
It's not just about reading and understanding the notes. Learning to read music introduces you to sticking concepts. Simply put, this is the understanding of which hand plays which note. Make no mistake, this is a very important part of drumming, because understanding sticking builds control, and control is everything on the drum set. Speed, musicality, creativity, the ability to improvise, power, subtlety - it all comes from building control. We have produced a video blog on this topic, if you need more convincing on this point.
3 - Learning to read music is not difficult, when approached in the right way.
Learning drum notation, and music notation in general, is all about understanding basic fractions, and developing good counting skills. Don't be put off here - this is not advanced level equations, just basic math. When explained in the right way, and approached in a sensible, easy to digest, structured format, learning to read music is not difficult, and after some investment in practice, is actually a lot of fun. At Drum Ambition, we provide you with 10 videos on essential notation, and armed with this knowledge, you will be able to understand our entire 100 video curriculum, 500+ audio files, and dozens of music notation PDFs. And the better news? Well, you can watch the first notation video free, so you can see for yourself that it really isn't rocket science, or anything to be scared of.
4 - Learning to read music unlocks countless valuable resources.
Aside from understanding the entire Drum Ambition curriculum as we just discussed, understanding music notation will give you access to so many cool resources. There are literally hundreds of drum books that can help you grow and improve once you have nailed the all important foundation covered on Drum Ambition. You'll also be able to read and understand transcriptions of your favorite songs, which is a lot of fun!
5 - Learning to read music may not take as long as you think.
There is definitely an investment in time when it comes to learning music notation, and the sticking concepts that are born from this skill. We have already established that learning music notation is not difficult when approached in the right way, and with a structured approach, it may not take as long as you might think. If you are prepared to go the extra mile and add notation skills to your daily practice routine, you will see some outstanding benefits over time. Learning notation is part of the Drum Ambition curriculum, and to help you further, we have written this article on how long our course takes.
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