Here’s an interesting approach to learning how to play drums: starting right off (practically) copping beats that are part of the everyday musical landscape. In Level 1, Lackowski aims to win young hands and hearts with the music that inspired him, compiling a mix of grooves played by the likes of John Bonham, Dave Grohl, and Tré Cool between 1968 and 2001. What better way to learn simple syncopations than playing a song like “Hard To Handle” or “Free Fallin’”? What better way to really grasp 8th and 16th notes than playing “Kashmir” and “Smoke On The Water”? The author follows the beats with a selection of interchangeable drum fills.

Level 2 expands on the basic rock grooves of the first book in the series by examining classic work by jazz greats Blakey, Cobb, Rich, and Roach, funkster Steve Jordan, and rockers Chris Layton and Mitch Mitchell. Level 3 involves more syncopation, focusing on funk masters Harvey Mason, Zigaboo Modeliste, and Jabo Starks, rockers Neil Peart and Lars Ulrich, and jam master Jon Fishman, as well as Latin beats and an intro to reggae’s one-drop groove. Throughout the CDs Lackowski nails the beats and hits the dynamics accurately. (Alfred) Robin Tolleson