What are the benefits of reading drum music notation?

Author: Simon DasGupta.
September 1, 2022

In this article

Learning to read drum music is often an intimidating thought for many beginner drummers. The good news is that it's not as difficult as you might think, and the vast benefits are well worth the extra effort.

  • How do I learn drum notation?
  • Why is learning music notation important for beginner drummers?
  • Is it hard to learn drum music, and how long does it take?

5 common questions on learning drum notation.

If you are new to learning the drums and looking at our free course previews, you may wonder why reading music notation is important. Here are five frequently asked questions that will help you decide if the investment in time is worthwhile.

1. Will learning music notation help my drumming?

As well as being the universal language of musicians everywhere, understanding music notation can help make your learning experience productive, efficient, and above all, more fun. Don't underestimate that last point. Keeping a hobby fun is the key to success, and at Drum Ambition, we are all about keeping the "fun" in the fundamentals.

2. Is learning music notation really necessary?

Most beginner drummers understand why a professional drummer should be able to read music, but why should it be necessary for the hobbyist drummer?

Let's be clear. You do not have to learn to read music notation. Our courses are designed to cater to those who want to and equally to those who don't.

Many excellent drummers did not learn to read music notation. Still, it's important to emphasize that they developed their craft over many years of playing, practicing, listening, and learning from their mistakes.

We advise you to use the tools available to have fun and develop as quickly as possible without taking counterproductive shortcuts. Understanding music notation can help.

3. Is it hard to learn music notation for drums?

Learning to read drum notation will make your overall experience more effective and help you achieve your goals more quickly. It isn't as difficult as you might think when approached in a structured and systematic way.

It will undoubtedly take practice, but our ten music notation lessons in Course One walk you gently through the fundamentals. Armed with these essentials, you'll be able to understand all of the notation in all Drum Ambition courses and set yourself up for a positive and fun learning experience.

4. What are the benefits of reading drum music?

Learning music notation unlocks the door to understanding rhythm, including how to count music. There is a famous saying - "If you can count it, you can play it."

When you know how to count music, the next logical step is understanding which hand plays which note. In drumming, we call that sticking, and this concept is wonderful. Why? It helps build control; without this, you will never have true musical expression on a drum set.

Put more plainly, you'll often fall over yourself when you try and play freely, which can be frustrating. When you take a closer look at sticking, you become more aware of what your hands are doing and how you are holding and gripping the stick. This builds technique and eventually enhances control.

5. How is drum set control linked to understanding music notation?

Musicality, dynamics, endurance, speed, and power are all byproducts of control. They result from being able to count music and apply sticking, which is all linked back to understanding the notation.

You can choose not to take this path, but you may eventually experience a plateau in your development. You might also develop some bad habits along the way.

By understanding music notation, you can communicate with other musicians and access the myriad of great resources available. It will set you on the right track to becoming a more rounded musical drummer.

It's also worth noting that reading removes the need to commit every note, beat, and drum fill to memory - something you will be glad of in the early days of drumming.

Our FREE guide answers many questions you may have on beginning drums.

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