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116 thoughts on “Discussion”

  1. Hey Niels,
    I’m a guitarist. I discovered your YouTube videos working in the syncopation book. It has helped my rhythm reading very much. It looks like the videos stopped on lesson 12. do you have more that go through the rest of the book?

  2. Hey awesome site, I’m really looking forward to digging deep into this. I’m wondering if I can download any of the audio files so I can just listen to them on my phone without internet connection, is that possible? Thanks,

  3. Good day sir, I just started drum class this his month how many minutes do you think it’s ok for me to practice each rudiments per day?

  4. Hello Niels, A big thank you for the lessons 1 to 10 from Ted Reeds book. I started learning four months ago with an excellent teacher; your videos are such a bonus for practice and revision. At 66 years old it is only for the joy of it that I have begun this journey. Not sure how good a player i can become, but I adore jazz and classical and would love it if I can start understanding better what is actually happening in the music. Best regards, Purnendu

  5. Hello Sir, thank you for posting this!
    I have a question in lesson eleven from the ted reed’s syncopation book.
    On the first measure It says sixteen notes but the last note is not played but still counted right? Else it will just be a triplet of you don’t count it. Especially on the number 2. If you don’t pause the play for a 1/16th and go right into counting “&, ah” that then has a triplet feel. Do I understand that correctly?

  6. Thank you for sharing this comprehensive, intelligent, and well considered website on drums! I’m 60 and want to learn how to play the drums. My parents had me play guitar when I was young, but drums were my true passion. I tried playing in my 40’s but was too busy and didn’t have access to a good teacher. Now I have time and access to a wealth of guidance as your website provides. Thank you! Todd.

  7. Niels, I have a question about the F triad…..Tuning: snare A, rack tom F, floor tom C. They sounded wonderful until I turned my snare wires on. The snare buzz is awful, I mean god awful. I anticipated more buzz but not to that extent. I tried just about everything to get the buzz under control. If you Google melanic drumming 100’s of videos will come up. What’s the secret to this configuration that allows you to play at this high tuning without all the snare buzz?
    Thank you for your time.

  8. Hi Carsten,

    Uncle Niels is still around in Denmark. He will be happy to hear from you. If you need help connecting, please email me at nielsmyrner@gmail.com or call me at USA 415-419-7305 and leave a message so I know it’s you. I’ll call back.

    I hope you are doing well!


  9. Niels Myrner,

    You’re basic drumming 60, 80 etc, helps me enormously and appreciate your getting to the most basic part of rhythm. Thank you. I’ve viewed many sites and yours is by far the best for me.

    One thing, I had scroll down for a while–just to say thank you… there’s no easy contact for you. I’m sure others want to reach out to you and thank you! bd NYC

    1. Hi Bob,

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for leaving a comment and good luck on your drumming journey. It’s definitely time for a redesign of the website, and especially this page. I appreciate the feedback!


  10. Niels Myrner,

    You’re basic drumming 60, 80 etc, helps me enormously and appreciate your getting to the most basic part of rhythm. Thank you. I’ve viewed many sites and yours is by far the best for me.

    One thing, I had scroll down for a while–just to say thank you… there’s no easy contact for you. I’m sure others want to reach out to you and thank you! bd NYC

  11. Thank you for this incredible resource, Neils. I worked the Gene Krupa Method in private lessons over a 3 year period as a kid. Some guy above said we drummers talk too much. Ha. True!
    I took Morello’s 90 Day Challenge to practice 3 – 4 hours a day in his Masters Studies II June 2019 – Sept 2019. Transformative.
    I’ve put in long practice sessions ever since.
    What I have NOT had is a balanced practice plan.
    I have Syncopation, and worked through maybe ten pages on my kit. Sounds like it needs to be a cornerstone of my learning. I’d like to transform myself again over the next 90-180 days…into a solid & versatile intermediate level pocket drummer. I love all the major styles…classic rock, jazz, fusion, Latin, funk, blues…and pop.
    I’m getting John Riley’s Art of Bop Drumming asap. I’ve worked through ten pages of Accents and Rebounds (a few weeks), first 20 pages of Stick Control, and I put some long hours into the Chaffee books (tough sledding there). Gary Chester New Breed. You could say I know enough, have read and played enough, I’m maybe an advanced beginner or beginning intermediate player. Mitch Mitchell, Jo Jones, Bonham, …sooo many greats inspire me, but I just need to take the next right steps, discover who I am as a drummer. Benny Greb’s book was incredibly helpful to me learning pulse and developing feel. Still working with his book. Did I have a question? Yes. Having played for decades but only playing out professionally for 3-4 years, but only sporadic private lessons…how can I evaluate where I am? I have most of the classic books, and I really put time into Stick Control, seeing it as a “right of passage.” I’ll sum it up: Chaffee taught me the importance of knowing stick heights, and being disciplined about various volumes. Up, Down, Tap, Full. Accents and Rebounds are re-enforcing this learning. But I die when I read a transcript of Bonham playing something like the Crunge. I watch a demo of Colaiuta Inspired Paradiddles and think…I can do that…but how…

  12. Hello everybody and greetings from Finland (once again) 🙂

    Hope that everybody is alive and well after this hideous Covid-virus. Soon it´s all in the past. Good riddance!
    I just wanted to drop by and thank mr. Myrner one more time for your one of the best online drum-lessons. I just love those! There are lots of drum lesson videos in the internet but these are just the best! Many of the talented drummers in the net just TALK too much…..Like Elvis sang : “little less conversation, little more action please” Thank´s Niels for this. I myself are in the treshold of mastering my left hand quite well in rudiments and all for all basic technical things that lay a good base to move forward. Those sudden moments that you notice that wow! i did it…my hand´s are working!!! these are just magical moments that pushes your forward. Big hand for you Niels!!! I myself love “boring” rehearsals and know that itˋs gets me to goal that i want: Playing drums with a band. I have practising now for 3 years and 1 hour per day. I noticed that a simple clock helped me to start regular practise. I just but the timer on for an hour and there you go. And all in the sudden it became my daily rutine and now i just canˋt wait to sit in the thore and let the beat take me away. Just keep practising everyone!! Rhythm is the healing power. Mikko 48 years.

    And of course i hope to be your online student one day Niels. Line is long i think 🙂

  13. Hi niels. Loving your jazz content. You have me very excited about playing music again. I’m thinking about trading in my dw collectors series (22, 12, 14 &16) for some smaller drums. I like the look of the dw jazz series maybe 18, 12 @14. Your pink drums look amazing, can you please talk me through your set up? Including those beautifully Constantinoples. Thanks.

  14. Anyone able to recommend a full, quality kit to accomplish the setup on this site? Total beginner here. Thanks!

    1. Hello. I use Roland td17 set with real hi-hat pedal + one ride symbal and one crash. Snare-drum with 2 high toms and one “floor” tom. All mesh-heads.

      Mikko (beginner also)

  15. Dear Mr. Myrner,I happened to see you on youtube – Syncopation Lesson Seven, p 16-17. I really like your teaching style which is quite special and very patient. Well, I am a double bass player. I mainly play symphonic music in the orchestra. Why did I come to your channel? Because I found that I lose the pulse of rhythm when I playing fast Syncopated rhythms – such as eighth notes in double bass part of Tchaikovsky-The Nutcracker Suite-Russian Dance-Trepak. I really want to overcome this problem. Could you please give me some suggestions? Thank you !

  16. Dear Mr. Myrner,I happened to see you on youtube – Syncopation Lesson Seven, p 16-17. I really like your teaching style which is quite special and very patient. Well, I am a double bass player. I mainly play symphonic music in the orchestra. Why did I come to your channel? Because I found that I lose the pulse of rhythm when I playing fast Syncopated rhythms – such as eighth notes in double bass part of Tchaikovsky-The Nutcracker Suite-Russian Dance-Trepak. I really want to overcome this problem. Could you please give me some suggestions? Thank you !

  17. Please may I ask a question…. Is the Table of Time played one hand at a time (v. hard with eight notes per quarter note or 32nds) or LR LR etc. ???

    Frank (Melbourne, Australia)

  18. Dear Niel,

    I am 77 yrs. old and never could afford drum lessons but taught myself because I love music & drums especially! I am ever so grateful for your free lessons- May the Power be with you always for being so generous!! I have been using them for the last six months and passing on tips to my two grandsons who love it too. Thanks Heaps!!!

    Please may I ask a question…. Is the Table of Time played one hand at a time (v. hard with eight notes per quarter note or 32nds) or LR LR etc. ???

    Frank (Melbourne, Australia)

  19. Greetings from Finland for everyone!

    Mr. Myrner, thank you for your wonderful drum lessons pages.
    Videos, texts, theory explained, everything!!! Just top-notch!! Have been practicing for 2 years now. Started from scratch and little by little it all comes together. But it takes time. Just keep practicing everyone. Very good for your health also. (Physical/mental) Daily practice routine for me is 1-1/2 hours.
    I also hope that i could be your online student someday. (Mikko 47.years)

    Thanks again.

  20. Hi Niels

    Checking in. Any chance that you’re taking online private students at this time? I am preparing for music school and looking for a teacher to help me design an effective daily practice toward that goal.

    Thank you for all the resources on this page!

  21. I am so excited to have found your website!
    The fills are great learning and the beats.
    Would have a print out for the rudiments?
    I’m trying your 3/week:)
    thanks again,

  22. Hello Niels, just a short “thank you” – I like the resources on your webpages – I stop by regularly to learn jazz drum basics.

    So long


    1. Hi Sunil,
      That depends on the music you want to play. If you’re interested in rock/pop/funk/hip-hop, start with the Beats playlist. If you’re interested in jazz, start with the Jazz Drumming playlist. Or you can try both and see what you like. After you’ve tried a lesson or two, read the Plan Your Practice article for guidance on how to structure your practice for the best results. When in doubt, focus on the music you love, and build the skills to play it.

  23. Hi, Niels.

    I have seen you have some nice-fonted pdf resources for jazz drumming. What software do you use to write both the notes and the words? I heard that LilyPond or MuseScore are good options but I don’t know which to choose. Do you recommend some of them?

    Thanks, Niels

    (Sorry if I wrote something bad, english is not my native language)

  24. I am Emmanuel. I love your teaching most especially the one u shared on Drum Lessons for Beginners. I would be happy to get more of that.

  25. Hello Niels,

    I’m very glad I found your website. It’s been very informative and helpful. Question when you have a moment. I have both ‘Syncopation’ by Ted Reed and ‘Modern Reading Text in 4/4’ by Bellson. Should I work through those books simultaneously or Syncopation first followed by Modern Reading in 4/4? I can read a little but am basically a beginner. Thank you!

    1. Hi Guy,
      I recommend Syncopation first, then Modern Reading Text. Both are great. Modern Reading Text is more advanced.
      Have fun!

    1. Hey David,
      Unfortunately I cannot post the entire book or it would violate fair-use copyright laws. I’m glad the videos were helpful!

  26. Hi Niels,

    Just stating on the drums at 53, its never to late I guess. I am starting off by learning the basics, stick control, partition reading and keeping tempo to the metronome. Came across your lessons on the syncopation book by Ted Reed, it was the first clear explanation of a dotted note that I found, great videos, simple and effective.

    Question: can you help me understand p 33. As indicated in the page description, A, B and C patterns should all sound the same, only the notations are different. I am having a hard time understanding partition C, specifically the flagged notes.

    Thanks for the great lessons

  27. Hello Niels

    My student wants to learn 3/4 swing. I feel I should write up the lessons in 9/8 time to be closer to accurate.
    What say you…

  28. Hello Niels,
    My journey has begun. The first step has been taken.
    I now have sticks and a practice pad. I have no idea where this road will take me, but that’s what makes this so exciting. 63 years old and want to learn the drums. Your style of teaching seems so practical and straightforward and easily understood. Your rudiment lessons are where I will begin. Thank You so very much, Niels, for this guidance.

    1. Joe,
      This is great news! I highly recommend getting involved with learning music you love to listen to. This will be a big motivator and it’ll give context to everything you practice. If you’re starting out with a pad and sticks, you can put on a favorite album and just try to keep the pulse with the band while you play single strokes or explore different ways to fit rudiments with the music. The meaning and context are critical. Speed is mostly irrelevant, so don’t worry about that. It’s all about the music. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

      1. Yes, Niels. I understand the ” Backward Design” approach and the importance of keeping it fun and inspiring. Playing along with my favorite tunes is so much fun and so very sloppy. lol. The Destination has been chosen and you have become part of my unique roadmap. Thanks, again, Sir …for all you do for all of us.

  29. One more thing Mr. Myrner. What makes your lessons so unique is, you don’t spend half of the time trying to impress either yourself, or everybody else for that matter ( like pumping out 650 bpm ). You put a lot of hard work and time into these courses, and for that I Thank You. Take Care, Ward L.

  30. HI Mr. Myrner, My name is Ward L. and I am 58 and just got into a lifetime dream of getting into drums about 2 months ago, ( Feb. 13th to be exact ) and had been watching some youtubers on instructional videos for beginners. Until I found your web site, and had been doing since, about a month, FANTASTIC. I feel I have progressed greatly in that short amount of time. I’ve got a very nice Pearl 9 piece double bass kit with a set of nice 6 piece Centent LAD Cymbals ( new to the states ) that I sit behind, Working on all aspects of your videos has greatly improved my rhythm. I sit behind my kit around 5-6 hours a day. I am going to continue watching, learning, and enjoying here on out. Sorry to here you are filled up on future lessons, but that’s OK, I still have plenty of your material on line!! Tons & Tons of Thanks, Ward L.

    1. Ward, I’m so happy to hear you’re living the dream! Thank you for the kind words!

  31. Neils, I really like your approach to drumming and teaching. I am an experienced drummer who is looking to improve my technique and expand musically. Please let me know if you get any openings for on-line lessons.

  32. Hey Niels,

    I recently brought a cheapo kit in hopes of teaching myself so I can play along with friends with guitars. And stumbled upon your site after looking for rudiment videos.

    I have been following the “general plan” and gotten proficient with the 7 basic beats / 6 of the fills. Now moved on to the Paradiddle beats which is kicking my butt ( currently at 60 bpm) on all. Anything faster than that and I fall apart. My right arm looses time and wants to follow the other limbs.

    I will keep working at it at 60bpm. Any other suggestions to control the right arm?

    Thanks for maintaining the site. It has been extremely helpful and a great resource.


    1. Hey Andre,
      Glad the site is helpful! Have you tried playing along with songs? There’s a list of songs you can play with the basic beats (A-G) here: https://www.nkmdrums.com/beats/song-list/ When I work with students in person, I use an app to slow down and loop sections of the songs where the beat is nice and clear.

  33. Hi Niels,

    I think is the best resource I found about starting with Jazz drumming. Very nice advices and you have analyse very well the form of the songs and I really liked all the step by step instructions you gave. I enjoyed every minute of these lessons and I could say, I am really swinging after this for many songs :).

    So my question is, if I would like to have two or three private lessons with you to guide me and pinpoint bad habits or how I can start improving jazz drumming to more difficult songs/solos etc. do you think is it something will work? Or you work mostly with full month lessons 1 per week for example.

    1. Hi Spiros,
      I’m usually pretty flexible but my schedule is completely full this season. Please check back after Jan 1st 2020. I will likely have a few openings then.
      Thank You!

  34. Hi Niels,
    Fantastic website, thank you. I’ve always wanted to play drums, now I have inherited my grandfather’s snare drum. I added high hats with a pedal. With a long way to go Id like to get my rudiments and timing down, not ready to get a full-on setup, what would you recommend for a very simple jazz setup? I was thinking about a ride cymbal for now.

    Thank again,

    1. Thank you for the kind words Richard! And apologies for the slow response. For starters, I’d pick up some brushes. There is so much you can do with just a snare drum, and brushes will open up the possibilities significantly. Beyond that, a hihat would be my next choice, followed by a kick drum and a ride cymbal. I’ve played many gigs with just kick, snare, hihat and ride. I can’t say I’ve ever had a “bad gig” because I didn’t have enough drums to hit. You can do quite a lot without toms or even with just a snare.

  35. I Niels, I found your site, after wandering a lot in the web ocean, maybe the most interesting and effective , expecially for someone like me that doesnt have any teacher and approaches Drum at 50 y.o. just because by chance a friend , moving to another town , left me her drumkit because she couldnt carry with her 🙂
    so, after a couple of months i gave a try to the beast and now i cant stay away from it
    Now my main problems are :
    where to begine first ? is there a path i should focus on starting from zero ?
    Actually i have 1 hour / day more or less and my music is rock and swing
    can you help me to build a schedule for me ?
    thanks in advance

    1. Hey Salvatore! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the kit. Have you checked out the “Plan Your Practice” page (top of the left navigation bar)? That will help give direction. My advice in short: songs, songs, songs. Learn music you enjoy listening to. You will still need to learn hand technique, independence and other skills. Learn the technical skills as needed, while focusing on songs. This will give your technical practice context and direction. It will also prevent information overload. You don’t need to know a lot to play, you just need to practice the right skills for the music you will be playing. Songs will keep you on track. You can always ask yourself the question “Do I really need to know this to play this song?” If the answer is no, it’s probably extra information. I hope that helps! 🙂 Good luck and enjoy!

  36. Niels i haven’t been able to get comfortable on the kit for ages now. Constantly feeling restricted with poor ergonomics in the setup. No more thanks to your set up section. Just going back to basics and getting a clean slate with my set up has been so helpful. Thank you. Also I have wanted to learn jazz for years now. I’m loving your lessons I’m the most inspired and excited about music and drumming that I had been in years. Thanks again.

    1. That’s great news Matt! Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad to hear you’re inspired.

  37. I must tell, that it has been a real pleasure to find your precious lessons, advises and information which now I see in this incredible superwell organized webpage…!
    I’ve started free drumming lessons once a week in a public center in my county for five years now. I’m advancing slowly because of lacking time, but little by little I’m finding how would I say?..a path among all the musical styles I love !! Because I love Bossa and Jazz, my teacher let me try two years ago to see if my skills were sufficiently grounded, and it was magic !
    Last year I tried a little introduction in Jazz drumming. I have the impression that there is were I want to stop for a while… Since the public center program is based on rock, I’m a little forked now an would need a well organized practice routine.
    Since classes are very short, and I have maybe as much as 50 min/day to practice and learn, I take the thing with a dose of philosophy…
    I getting some trouble to get counting easy since I speak in different languages and I couldn`t find yet the comfortable set.
    I discovered Konakol system and it attracted me a lot, but I didn’t find information or practice audios adapted for begginers to moderate students.
    Since its different, I feel that I could connect this method to drumming and root everything in my rather sluggish motor skills, also because its musicality (I started drumming at fifty years copping with a degenerative discopathy with the firm decision not to let the disease progress without my resisting).
    Do you have any references about this method and if it is suitable?

    1. Hi Marie, I’m glad you’re inspired! I don’t have experience with Konakol. It looks interesting! A good simple tool will do the job—whichever tool works best for you. 🙂

  38. I can’t believe this site. I have wanted to play jazz for a long time and it was Greek to me. Niels, your introduction to jazz has unlocked the door….WOW!
    Ready to schedule a lesson now.

  39. Hi Niels i started playing drums at the end of November 2018 on my 63rd. birthday; i practice every chance i get. My goal is to be able to read Rock Music and play along with my favorite songs.
    I have completed the 12 reading sessions that you provide in your website. Will you be going on further with the Ted Reed syncopation lessons or is the rest of the book a culmination of what i have learned in the first 12 lessons of the book. I would highly recommend your website to any beginning drummer that wants to learn how to play on line. Your teaching manner and passion for playing correctly is invaluable. Thanks So Much for you dedication and for providing this fantastic drumming website.

    1. Hey Brooke,
      I’m glad to hear you’re inspired! Thanks for the kind words. I just replied to your direct message. On a side note, I’m just finishing up development of a note-reading game/practice tool I’ll be posting here in a couple of months—that seems relevant to your journey. If you’d like to test it out, let me know and I’ll send you a link privately.

      1. Niels sorry I just got your response today; I would love to try the Note reading game practice tool. Thanks in advance.

        1. I just sent it to your email address. Let me know if it doesn’t go through. Have fun!

  40. Just want to say thank you, you make it look easy! That’s the sign of skills – which is what we all want 🙂
    I am very new to drumming -just 2 weeks, and never learned to play an instrument. l am enjoying learning with your videos. It comes down to practice. Thank you again for your outstanding instruction.

    1. You’re very welcome Lori-anne!
      Thank you for leaving a comment! I hope you’re enjoying learning the basics and also getting going with songs you love to listen to. That seems to be a key ingredient to staying motivated. Are you having the opportunity to apply some of what you’re learning in a musical context? Let me know if I can answer any questions.
      Good Luck!

  41. Hi Niels,

    I stumbled upon your site by accident but am loving all the jazz content. Thank you for sharing it all. I have a question: On the video titled “Part 5 Solo Phrases” you are playing an intro and outro jazz mambo pattern on the drums and cymbals. I would love to see that part written out because it sounds like it would fit nicely in perhaps Night Has A Thousand Eyes or A Night In Tunisia.

    many thanks,

    Paul (Vancouver-Canada)

    1. Hey Paul,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the jazz lessons. Please let me know any feedback you have while you’re working through them. Road blocks you run into, ideas for improvement, etc.

      Yes, that groove would work great with The Night Has a Thousand Eyes or A Night In Tunisia! It’s a classic Elvin Jones inspired jazz mambo. A Love Supreme by John Coltrane is a great track to listen to for this type of groove because Elvin builds into it gradually.

      You’ll find it in the stack of hand transcriptions on this page: https://www.nkmdrums.com/workbench (it’s currently about nine down from the top).

      Thanks for asking!

      1. Excellent. Thank you for that. I glanced over everything and believe I am already past most of these lessons 🙂
        I use the John Ramsay book, Art of Bop Drumming, Syncopation and Stick Control. Always looking for new material to challenge me and concepts that are immediately applicable to playing jazz with my combo. I actually just stumbled upon Mel Lewis’ “rub-a-dub” concept. Very cool.
        Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!!

  42. Hi Niels,

    Dude from Nicaragua here, I recently started bought a drum set and started watching videos to learn.

    Which song would you consider a very good song to learn some bases and fills, not as hard and least than 100 bpm, it doesn’t matter the genre, I enjoy Rock, Jazz and Latin.

    Thank you.

    1. Nice to meet you! I believe it’s important to choose your path based on your personal taste, as this will keep you on track to develop your own style and keep you inspired. I’ll give you an example of what this looks like with the average kid who wants to play in a rock band with his friends. I’ll choose songs based on how effective they are for learning the basics. We’ll start at the absolute beginning. The basic beats and an intro to fills are linked in the side bar on this site. If you haven’t already, you might try warming up with Beats A and B, and fills 1, 2 and 3. Those will give you the mechanics you need to get started playing songs. (https://www.nkmdrums.com/beats/song-list/)

      1. We Will Rock You – Queen (Beat B)
      I like to start students with this because the stomp-stomp-clap pattern translates into a drum beat and gives you a nice, easy opportunity to lock in with the music and play along.

      2. Yellow – Cold Play (Beat A+B, Beat B, Beat D+G)
      I like this song for a first challenging project. You’re going to learn the whole thing note for note exactly as played on the album. It’s simple and clean, but it puts things together in a context where you are challenged to make transitions, switch cymbals and stop on the breaks. Probably my favorite beginner song. The only reason I ever don’t start a new student with this is if it doesn’t fit their taste.

      3. 21 Guns – Green Day (Beat A+B, short fills, some new tricks)
      You can find sheet music for this one floating around, and Yellow as well, if you google the “song title+drum sheet music” Fill lessons 1,2,3 on this site will prepare you to make the transitions smoothly and give you the foundational mechanics. The fills here are just short bursts of sixteenth notes. Keep the right hand steady. You can probably pick a lot of this up by ear but it will introduce some challenges for sure.

      4. Come Together – The Beatles (unique beats, fills) I like this one because it gives you the opportunity to apply some rudiments and play rolls around the kit and it introduces the idea of improvisation at the end of the song when they jam out and play fills every two or four measures. This is a great opportunity to put your basics together into a deeper project.

      While you’re working on those, I would recommend exploring a variety of other topics. Check out some reading, some rudiments, explore more beat and fill basics, check out some jazz basics. Get an overview. The songs will keep you on track so you don’t get lost wandering around on the internet of too much information. 😉

      If you’re learning on your own, there are a couple of tools that will be your best friends:

      1. A simple audio recorder. Nothing fancy. Just so you can record yourself and listen back. A smart phone or laptop recorder is fine. We’re not going for studio recording quality here, just for perspective.

      2. Learning to read. Reading drum music is pretty easy. If you find a confusing online lesson on how to read, it’s the lesson’s fault, not yours! If you learn to read basic parts, you’ll have access to an infinite supply of good project songs. Due to copyright, most online learning communities don’t teach from popular songs. You can find song tutorials and many are good, but it’s a bit of a mess. Being able to pull up a solid transcription and just keep it next to your drum kit while you’re learning a song, or being able to ask someone to break down a part for you (see the workbench link on this site) will give you access to high level information.

      I hope that helps! Enjoy your drum kit!

  43. Hi Niels, I was looking for a guide for effective drum practice online and your is surely the best and most detailed. I would still very much appreciate it if you gave me some tips on planning my practice routines. I am currently waiting for my electronic drums to arrive. First, I will give you a brief summary of my background and current situation.
    I have been playing drums for 5 years but have never owned a drumset or a practice pad in my life, only till the beginning of this year 2018 when I bought a practice pad. Since then I’ve been working on the basics of hand technique . So its safe to assume that my technique and musicality is at a beginner level since the total amount of time I’ve sat down to practice does not amount to much. However, just a couple days ago for the first time of my life I have bought an all mesh electric drums but its a cheap one not as good as the Roland ones.
    The end goal for me to would be to be an all around player because my taste in music is very broad. If I had to reduce it, it would be to be a good jazz drummer since I am a part of a jazz club in my university so the musicians that I interact with are people that play jazz mostly.
    The problem, in my point of view, is that the majority of my practice in the drumset is going to be in a electric kit and in order to play jazz, I believe that one needs an acoustic kit since it is not possible to get the same sound, feel, and touch in an electric one.
    So far the conclusion I have reached is to go through Tommy Igoe’s Groove Essentials since I still don’t have the fundamentals and can’t play well order genres of music that are “easier” than jazz. In addition, I plan to practice Tommy Igoe’s Hands for a Lifetime for my hand technique.
    Any comments, suggestions and/or tips from you would be helpful. I am extremely excited and motivated about practicing on my new kit and just want to make the most of my time.

    Seung Jae

    1. Hi Seung Jae,
      Thanks for your message! You can definitely get good practice on a pad or electric set. There will be some adjustment between electric and acoustic, but not too bad. I have lots of students who practice on electric sets at home and play on acoustic sets at school, etc.

      You’ve given me a pretty good overview of your experience and goals. I have a few questions for you—

      1. What music do you love to listen to? For example, what is on your most recent Spotify playlist, or wherever you listen to music. This can be anything. All that matters is that you really love to listen to it. Pop, hiphop, classical, jazz, rock, anything. You can list a few favorite songs if you want, or just tell me the genre.

      2. What music, specifically, will you be playing with your university jazz club? Maybe ask the club leader, or a friend in the club for the name of the songs they like to play.

      3. What is your ultimate goal as a drummer? Hobby, enjoyment, play with friends, paying gigs on the weekends, professional career, etc.?

      4. How much time will you be spending practicing? 1 hour/week, 1 hour/day, 30 mins/day, etc. What will your practice time look like? It’s OK if you don’t know yet, and just want to have fun. But having a rough idea of the time spent, goals, taste and context will help us get an idea of how you should focus your time.

      Talk to you soon!

      1. Hi Niels,

        1. To make it simple, as of late the 3 genres of music I listen to are Rnb, Metal/Math Rock, and Jazz. The song “Jazz Crimes” by Redman and “Its On” by George Duke Trio have been stuck in my mind.

        2. We mostly jam to Jazz Standards. Ex: Ornithology, Peri’s Scope, Blue Bossa, etc.

        3. To be completely honest I don’t know what is my goal as a drummer. I only got 1 year left of college ( I am not a music mayor ) so its to late I guess for me to change my major to music. However, I would like to reach a point where I get paid for playing and maybe do some recordings for fun.

        4. As of late I have been practicing at least 20-30 mins a day. I am currently serving in the Korean Army so I do not have much free time. However, on rest days I try to practice 1+hours.

        In a way I guess that I am scared to go all in on music, since I am already majoring in something else, I am starting kind of late ( Age 24 ) and I don’t know I have the “talent” or “skills” it takes . But I am sure that I do love both listening and playing music. For now, I just want to practice and see where it takes me.

        Your thoughts on how I should go about planning my practice would be helpful.

        Seung Jae

        1. Hi Seung Jae,

          OK. I’ve given this some thought. I actually wrote a reply twice but decided it was too complicated. For the long version, check out https://www.nkmdrums.com/design-an-effective-practice-plan/ Use that as a template and, for your goals and taste, you’ll want to include both rock and jazz.

          Now more specifically. I would start by taking one thing and making sure you can make it sound good. For that, given your taste, goals and practice time (and without actually seeing you play) I would choose Blue Bossa. That’s a song (from your university jazz club) that will allow you to blend your personal taste with the jazz tradition. It works well with a variety of RnB/rock/funk grooves, or a more traditional Bossa Nova groove.

          Record yourself playing that song, maybe with a drumless track from YouTube or similar, or with your band. Make observations about where improvement needs to happen. You can find a list of observations on the link above. (Plan your practice)

          I think this is the most effective start for focused self study. The danger is information overload. We don’t want you to base your practice plan on what you should know. Rather we want you to base your practice plan on where your playing is right now. Then from there, gradually introduce new concepts that will help you develop your personal style together with learning the jazz tradition and a more broad freelancer style skill set.

          I hope that helps! Feel free to send me an audio/video recording.


          1. I very much appreciate your help. Getting a recording done is going to take a bit of time but when I have it done I will try sending it to you.

            Thanks again for your time and talk to you soon.
            Seung Jae

            1. Sounds great Seung Jae!
              A practice recording can be done with a phone or any primitive device. The idea isn’t to get a high quality recording, it’s just to be able to hear what’s happening with your playing from another perspective. It should be rough and ideally it should showcase the things you need to work on rather than your best performance. For self study, recordings/videos are your best tool. Even just recording a practice session. The big benefit from working with a teacher is that they can listen to you and create a plan based on what they hear + all the information you provided above. I hope that helps!

  44. just thanks
    I bought that book a year ago because it was suggested to me and I never really used it. I found your reading section and discovered a wonderful surprise. My book all explained with such clarity. Now, and only now I got why I was recommended this masterpiece of must have knowledge! I am enjoying the book and, because of your videos, know how to use it and how useful (mandatory) it is. I can now practice the real stuff.
    Super job.
    Thanks again,
    David (Quebec, Canada)

      1. Absolutely!
        And in the meantime I did the fills and polyrhythms that I really enjoyed.
        I have a question. Could you do (in Syncopation) page 46 exercise nine. Before that and after that, all the exercises target one or two concept to work on. But this one invites everybody to the party out of the blue! Interesting but I cannot see the fit in the whole idea of the book. And it is for sure the hardest one!

        Also, you said in one of the first video of Syncopation that we should not take care of the last row of quarter note (for now). But you never come back on that. I suppose it is a four on the floor base drum (or hi-hat foot). Could you confirm and add any suggestion for practice. Personally, I practice once with the bass drum every quarter and I use my snare for beat 1, my toms for 2 and 3, and my floor tom for the last quarter beat. I do the same with the hi-hat…

        Again, thank you so much for all your helpful and terrific work. It really rocks!

        1. Hey David,
          Syncopation Exercise 9 on p46 is a challenging piece. As you mentioned, it incorporates everything you’ve learned thus far AND introduces accents from exercises in the next section of the book. There are even a few 16th note triplets thrown in.

          Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, I can’t post the whole book online. I would recommend working on p46 without accents first. Skip the 16th note triplets. Add accents back in after you’ve done the next section of the book. Ted Reed had a way of showing you what you can’t do before teaching you how to do it. Foreshadowing. Maybe it was his sense of humor or a technique designed to give you an idea of how you can apply what you’re learning in the next section of the book. TLDR If you hit a roadblock, go ahead and come back to it later. 😉

          You can play the bottom line of 1/4 notes on the bass drum, as written. This brings up the strength of the book, which is in the many ways it can be applied on the drum set. I like the way you’ve chosen to apply the exercises!

          Syncopation just has a snare drum line and a bass drum line. In practice, the way the book is used by teachers and the reason it is so popular is because you can apply it in an infinite number of ways to develop different techniques. For example, you can play the bottom line on the hi-hat with your right hand and the top line on the bass drum with your right foot to develop bass drum independence in the context of rock/pop beats. Add the snare drum on beats 2 and 4 and you’ll get some very cool beats. If you’re into jazz, Alan Dawson’s 11 ways of interpreting the 8 exercises on p38-45 are a classic skill builder that could take a couple of years to complete if you’re just starting out. The way you choose to apply the exercises will depend on your goals and areas for improvement.

          I hope that helps! Thanks for communicating and asking questions. It’s always a pleasure to hear from people working the lessons here.

          1. thanks for the helpful (and enlightening) answer! I just wanna add that I now use your timing section. It is amazing when you are on the clic in the 4 on 4 section at 60 BPM a couple of time in a row! Like it! This was new to me and I found it very useful. It made me realize that counting at the proper timing is not so an easy thing… The silence speaks it in those exercises.

            1. I agree! That’s one of my favorite exercises… especially as a warm up/reconnection/focus exercise. Probably my second favorite is the table of time. Those two are great for setting the clock.

  45. Hi Niels Ived been following you many times ,but please I am young drummer with a vision of sharing drum licks,fills and lessons ,
    Can you pls help me to make it a world wide pls ,will be happy to hear from you

    1. Hey Randy, You could start by making video and audio recordings of your performances. Share them online and interact on a variety of social media platforms. I’ve found that the more helpful I am, the more responsive the online community is. So if you can find out what people need help with, that’s a good start. Feel free to send me a direct message from the contact page if I can answer any other questions. Good luck!

  46. Hi Niels,
    having been playing drums for around 12 years but not to seriously, over the past 6 months I have been having lessons with a fantastic tutor, mostly on jazz, but recently have started using Stick Control and Ted Reeds Syncopation, I was so pleased to find your site and the section on reading music relating to Ted Reeds book is absolutely amazing, it has helped e so much to really get to grips with the book, and your other videos on jazz are fantastic, so helpful please keep this excellent site going, and thanks, have been telling everyone how good your teaching methods are.

  47. Hi again Niels,
    Thanks for including me to your list, I’m really looking forward to learning to read the basics as I have explained in my email I posted earlier.

        1. Sure thing! All of the lessons posted here are free and open to the public. I make my living as a local private music teacher, although I teach privately online through Skype/Google Hangouts. Happy to answer questions any time. Enjoy!

  48. Hey Niels! i see you’ve updated your website hmmmmm:) cant wait ’till the Super Bowl. see you on Thursday!-Lucas aka the best drummer evaa
    P.S. who are you rooting for

  49. Niels, thanks so much for your efforts, the website, blog and reference materials noted are fantastic. I am just returning to drumming and this jazz material is perfect for my re entry. I love the clear explanation and variety of info provided. Really appreciate your work. Thanks again for inspiring my return! I look forward to continuing my training and please keep the info coming! Kudos, Mark Hip

    1. Hey Mark,
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the lessons! Let me know if I can answer any questions. One tip for when you get to part four (comping phrases) of the jazz series—there are really six lessons in this one video/transcription so take your time. I use these lessons while teaching privately and we spend a few weeks just on that lesson. Good luck and thanks for leaving a comment.

    1. Hey Nelmar! Thanks for asking. A classic foot control exercise is to play pages 5-7 of Stick Control by George Stone between your feet. 1 column per day, 20 times each. You can find a copy of this book by googling “Stick Control PDF” So your first day would be #1-12, 20 times each, then #13-24 the next day, #25-36, #37-48, #49-60 and finally #61-72. This is very effective! There are two things missing from this exercise. First, fun. This is not a musically exciting exercise. It is effective like doing push-ups. Second, it is not directed at any specific musical application. It would be better if we could design an exercise that fits the type of music you will enjoy playing with your friends. Do you like to listen to popular music? If that’s the case, have you learned basic pop beats and the paradiddle beat? These are great for musical coordination. Also, starting to learn songs you love to listen to that have challenging bass drum parts, then isolating and drilling the parts of the song you find difficult. If you want to tell me some songs you like, maybe I can find an example. I am open to everything. All music is welcome. I hope that helps!

      1. How Good it is Niels Thankyou for Your tips that was a BIG BIG HELP! Its been 3 years since I chat with you and watching your videos in youtube. I watch your tutorials on youtube also a fills developments and thats why I am improve. Im from Philippines. Again. THANKYOU SO MUCH!

    1. Hey Rick,
      All Blues by Miles Davis is a great start. The quarter note pulse is driving here and you’ll hear less of the “ah’s” on the ride. Footprints and Night Dreamer by Wayne Shorter are great. You’ll here a fuller triplet ride pattern here as with Favorite Things, John Coltrane version, for something a little more uptempo. I really like starting students with All Blues but the way Jimmy Cob plays quarter notes on the ride can make it difficult to hear where the “ah’s” fall in time. Listen to all four of those tracks for contrasting approaches to playing time.

  50. Hi Niels,
    First of all I would thank you for great videos on youtube. I started play drums four months ago. I practice mostly paradiddIes and I try to practice every day, sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 2-3 hours. My question is how can I get more speed when I play paradiddles especially in the left hand? Thank you

    1. Hey Daors,
      Nice to meet you! Most likely your left hand simply needs more work to catch up to your right. If your right hand is developing good technique, your left can mirror that technique to accelerate the process. Adjust daily tasks like using your computer mouse, opening doors, etc. to your left hand to build coordination. A balanced routine will include left hand lead exercises. You mentioned that you were practicing mostly paradiddles? Would you like to talk about your routine? If so, tell me your goals. I will give you an overview of what that might include.

      1. Thank you for answer Niels and thank you for a good advice.
        I’m trying to use my left hand as much as possible now .
        My goals is to get a good hands technique. I started playing paradiddles whit accents last week but it not so easy. I have must focus on hand coordination, and we don’t need talking about speed, its going realy slow :). I’ m playing only single paraddidles with accent on R l r r and L r l l. I also want to say that your drum fill lessons on youtube help a lot.
        Thank you again !

        1. Hey again Daors! Playing single strokes will help iron out the wobbles in your left hand. Paradiddles are great practice, but it helps to isolate one hand at a time and work out the mechanics. Try setting a metronome at 60BPM and playing 8th notes (2 hits per click) RR RR RR RR, LL LL LL LL at an even steady pace. Then move up to triplets (3 hits per click) RRR RRR RRR RRR, LLL LLL LLL LLL. Then up to 16th notes (4 hits per click) RRRR, RRRR, RRRR, RRRR, LLLL, LLLL, LLLL, LLLL. And then back down. Spending time playing singles on each hand alone from slow to medium to slow will help! Let me know how it goes.

          1. Hi Niels
            I want to say that your way to practice helped me a lot. There is a huge difference now than before. Thank you so much Niels.

              1. Hi Niels, you are already helping me every day. Im watching your videos and it helps me a lot. For now im focusing on rudiments. Im trying to practice as says in your ” Sample Practice Routine”. Thanks to you Niels my dream alive. Thank you so much Niels !!!

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