I’ve got quite a few that are falling apart from overuse. Joe Porcaro’s Drumset Method is the most disintegrated of them; it’s where I developed my hand technique back in the day.
Modern Jazz Drumming by William F. Ludwig. The book enforces sticking and posture while providing an understanding of the musical implication of each technique. This structure has benefitted my playing by exercising my ability to immediately utilize newly learned techniques in compositional and improvisational settings. The exercises within can be applied in genres far beyond jazz.
Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice. It was the first drumset book that taught me the importance of keeping a solid groove and foundation that would work in real-world applications with other musicians.
Charley Wilcoxon’s The All-American Drummer: 150 Rudimental Solos. I didn’t do marching band or drum corps, so this book helped me to develop a working command of all the rudiments.
Stick Control has been my most valuable and consistently used practice book, especially in my early years. I mainly used it as a framework for disciplined practice, and my teachers showed me how to move the exercises around the kit. I still have the original book after about forty years.
Ted Reed’s Syncopation. It’s limitless in how it could be applied, and each page could be as hard or as easy as you decide it to be.
Exploring Your Creativity on the Drumset by Mark Guiliana. I bought a second copy so I can still practice with it, because his concepts are simple to understand but take so much time to master. It’s helped me get more space into my playing and made me try to feel the music rather than thinking about it.
Future Sounds by David Garibaldi opened my world to the possibilities of rudiments, and I’m amazed by how he applied so many hand and foot patterns with just the kick, snare, and hi-hats.
My most worn book is Wilcoxon’s The All-American Drummer. The cover fell off years ago, and I’ve lost the outer few pages too. It was a requirement in college, and I continue to use it with my students today because of the sheer volume of practice material and the way it puts rudiments into a flowing musical context. Before Wilcoxon, the rudiments were difficult for me to contextualize. Those solos really allowed me to see their potential.
Ryan Alexander Bloom
I’m on my third copy of Syncopation, and I still have my original. I own about fifty books, but I still come back to this one with yet another way to play the patterns. It’s timeless.
I’ve worn out multiple copies of Stick Control, Master Studies, David Garibaldi’s Future Sounds, and Ari Hoenig’s Systems: Drumming Technique and Melodic Jazz Independence.
Stick Control taught me how to be disciplined and diligent about working on my hand technique in a concentrated manner. Future Sounds taught me permutation, how to create interstellar linear grooves, and to think of each limb as an individual voice while being part of a melodic whole. Master Studies taught me how to further the concept of technique while adding new melodic concepts into the mix. And Systems taught me how to take my four-limb swing coordination to another level, as well as how to practice the rudiments in a melodic fashion.
Syncopation. There are many ways to interpret the exercises on the drumset, such as in jazz and Latin rhythms, drum fills, and more. It’s an all-purpose must-have.
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