Cool teaching thangs


Listed below are a few books, sites and schemes that I've found to be REALLY useful for teaching drums and percussion.  The texts themselves are all great but the ideas and concepts within are equally fantastic.  Even if you don't end up using them per se in lessons, the ideas they'll give you as a teacher are worth their weight in gold!

Books are split into 3 catergories:

  • Drums and Drum Kit
  • Tuned Percussion
  • Other Percussion 

 Drums and Drum Kit



The Rockschool Drums exam books  This series provides excellent material for the training of drummers to play in band/group/combo settings and with the added option of taking an exam.               Buy them here:


Steve Houghton's Books  The master of all things play-a-long, drum set educator and performer Steve Houghton's publications are second-to-none when it comes to charts & tracks. They also contain LOTS of sound, pragmatic advice about drum set playing - they REALLY are excellent!  Buy them here:                                    


Drumsense!  If you're looking to enhance your teaching or playing by way of some 'professional development', then Colin Woolway's superb programme is a great place to start - the Drumsense books, the training, the resourses, the support and advice are brill!  Find everything you need to know about Drumsense here:


Groove Essentials  Tommy Igoe's fab contribution to drum set styles is a must!  If you only ever buy one play-along-package get this one.  A very flexable package as most of the grooves have 2 backing tracks, each at different tempos - slow versions that work well with younger less experienced players and faster ones that provide a challenge for the more advanced.  The drum charts that go with each track are deliberately under-written and typify the sort of parts found in 'real-world' music situations.  Buy them here:


Dave Hassell Graded Course for Drum Kit - books 1 & 2    A VERY fine selection of books from Dave Hassell.  Most music books these days are typeset using computer notation, which is fine but not necessarily very 'real-world' as many drum charts in band pads or sessions are still hand-written or from an era when copyists hand-wote parts. These books give you a first-rate experience of working with (excellent) hand-written parts.  The play-a-long tracks are excellent and great little compostions in their own right!  Buy them here:


Mark Wessels  Mark has put down some fine ideas in his two 'Fresh Approach' books.  For me these books and his overall ingenuity in presenting the ideas via the web (see the Vic Firth site!), on DVD, C.D. and CD-ROM deserves some sort of Percussion-Teacher medal for techno-creativity!  I beleive he runs or is closely involved with the Vic Firth website - an incredible resourse in itself for teachers.  Buy them here:


Jim Blackley's Syncopated Rolls for the Modern Drummer Vol. 1 & 2  The 'Syncopated Rolls' book is an absolute gem of wisdom and brilliance and has been the most enlightening thing I've seen for a while.  It takes a while to absorb some of the ideas and to read and digest his sugesstions but it's well worth it.  Get it from Allan Cox's website:


Contemporary Rudimental Studies & Solos by Lalo Davila  One of the best approaches/guides to teaching rudiments I've seen with a contemporary feel.  The book looks at the 40 PAS DRUM RUDIMENTS.  Each rudiment is studied individually and culminates in a short solo that utilizes only that rudiment!  Each solo has an accompaniment on C.D. to help the performer achieve steady tempos and musical phrasing.  At the end of the book are a further five solos, each with it's own accompaniment on the C.D. utilizing all 40 of the PAS Rudiments - Great stuff to play in a student recital, contest or concert.  Buy this book here:  or here