If you are new to learning the drums and looking at our free drum lessons, you may be wondering why reading music notation is important.

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.

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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.

Do you have to learn music notation to play the drums?

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 course has been 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.

Is it hard to read drum notation?

Learning to read drum notation will make your overall experience more effective and help you achieve your goals quicker. It isn’t as difficult as you might think when approached in a structured and systematic way. It will undoubtedly take practice, but our 10 music notation lessons in Module One walk you gently through the fundamentals. Armed with these essentials, you'll be able to understand all of the notation in our 5 Modules and set yourself up for a positive and fun learning experience.

What are the benefits?

Learning music notation unlocks the door to understanding rhythm, including how to count music. There is a very 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 indeed a wonderful thing. Why? It helps build control, and 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 start taking 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.

The byproducts of control are all traced back to 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 will also be able to communicate with other musicians and access the myriad of great resources available to you. It will set you off on the right track to becoming a more rounded musical drummer. It is also worth noting that reading takes away the need to commit every note, beat, and drum fill to memory - something you will be glad of in the early days of drumming.

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