So, you’re ready to take your drum playing to the next level. Contrary to popular opinion, throwing down some rocking beats isn’t just a matter of grabbing a pair of drum sticks and hitting the skins. Drumming is both an art and a skill enhanced by proper training and the right tools. The ability to read drum sheet music falls into both categories. Read on to learn more about how to improve your drumming through this powerful technique to add to you musical toolbox.
Drum tabs can be useful when you are just starting out, but they become increasingly ineffective as rhythms progress into more challenging territory. While drum tabs indicate a music passage’s most rudimentary aspects, such as rhythm, they omit essential intricacies, such as tempo, time signature, and accents. Understanding how to read drum sheet music can help you make sense of these instructions and turn them into the correct beats.
While learning to read drum sheet music may seem overwhelming at first, a good instructor can help you achieve your goals and can work with you in applying your new skills. For an additional resource, check out How to Read Drum Notation, which offers a handy introduction to reading drum sheet music. Remember, the more you practice and develop your sheet music reading skills, the more confident you’ll be in drumming technique.
Communicate and Collaborate
While you might initially work on your drumming alone in your garage or basement, you will eventually want to take your skills out into the real world. Playing with others is a rewarding part of being a musician and offers an exciting opportunity to develop your abilities. The power to read sheet music enhances the experience for you and your fellow musicians. Knowing how to read sheet music also improves both your accuracy and responsiveness as a musician, allowing you to specifically denote what and when things should be happening. Simply jot down your beats and refer to them later.
Being able to read music is also an important part of improving your marketability if you’re interested in picking up gigs; your contribution as a potential band member multiplies exponentially when you can just glance at the music and immediately start playing along. The ability to read drum sheet music helps you to quickly and comprehensively engage in the collaborative experience of playing music with others.
Explore New Territory
Exploring different types of music fosters the development of new skills, while expanding your knowledge of various types of music. Drum tabs are helpful for getting by when playing music you’ve already heard, but reading drum sheet music offers you a unique invitation to play unfamiliar styles, from classical to contemporary and beyond. Furthermore, the better you are at reading sheet music, the more you will appreciate the diverse range of musical flavors that fill the world. In other words, reading sheet music lets you transform novel notes on a page into brand-new drum hits simply by looking at them. While it may be difficult at first, your brain will eventually begin to decode notes on the fly.
While not all successful drummers have the ability to read drum sheet music, the ones who do reap countless rewards. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Drum Sheet Music for a quick introduction on how to read sheet music, then make a commitment to becoming a better drummer by learning this valuable skill. Good luck!
Photo by H. Michael Miley