What is Drum Notation? by Steve Benedetto



Drum players and even percussionists are often accused of not being musicians at all, they lack of melodic ear, they’re noisy and the list goes on. But truth be told: drum players and percussionists have a vital role in all the musical and orchestral groups in all their formats. These are the ones who are in charge of keeping the rhythm of the march and to guide the rhythmic sequence that everyone must follow (a great responsibility, if you ask me).

Many drum players manage to learn music theory in order to enrich their resources not only as drummers but as percussionists in general. Others limit themselves to learning to play by ear and this is not a bad thing either, both collaborate so that music can be made.

By seeing both examples some may ask if it is possible to be a drummer without actually being a musician, and the truth is, that you can play any instrument without really being a musician, especially the drums since it does not require extensive knowledge of music theory or placing and locating notes in the musical pentagram, and is one of the few instruments that can be learned by playing through games and out of all academic rigidity.

To be a good drummer you just need dedication and practice, like any discipline, everything requires a minimum of effort to achieve what is proposed.

There are many methods that can provide a wide variety of resources for those who are not musicians and want to learn to play this instrument, of course, knowing a little solfege won’t hurt you and will give you a great advantage if you decide to take your practice into the music work market and become professional.

Many get scared to hear the word solfege, but it is not as terrible as it seems and being a percussionist the rhythmic exercises can be entertaining, once you understand the musical figures and their duration the rest will be very simple.

The scores for percussion, or rhythmic exercises, looks like this:


It's not so scary, is it? These are basic exercises, but there’s also some more challenging.

As a beginner an before considering those solfege lessons there are preliminary exercises you can do even if you don’t have a drums set available, just by using your own body you can learn rhythmic patterns and coordination. Here’s how to do this step-by-step:


1) Learn by clapping with your hands: as we mentioned before, you don’t need to have a giant set, just using your hands on your legs or your body is enough, many people are quickly frustrated when sitting in front of a drums set and not achieving a simple rhythm pattern, so before buying one, have basic notions about rhythm.

2) Learn the basics of music theory: seriously, this will help you a lot so that you can better understand the beat and more. Learning the value and duration of each musical figure will teach you to have a better understanding of what time is in music, and how to subdivide it.

3) Learn the name of the musical figures and practice a lot with each one. Trust us, this not rocket science and everyone can learn it.


4) Start with one hand first: learn to play basic musical figures with one hand, varying between the figures and their speeds until you master the pulse in a precise way.

5) Use the other hand: always start with your hands together and gradually get familiar with the different rhythms until you can play different rhythms with both hands.

And the most important thing is (besides practicing a lot) enjoy your journey through your daily practice, don’t get frustrated if you’re not brilliant at the beginning just keep trying and you’ll see the results you want.

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What is Drum Notation? by Steve Benedetto What is Drum Notation?  by Steve Benedetto Reviewed by Respectful Beats™ on Monday, February 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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