Essential Styles 1 & 2
Author - Steve Houghton
Steve Houghton has long been regarded as one of the premier educators in the drumming world. Having published a wide range of educational materials targeting everyone from beginners to advanced students, there is much to be gained from his expertise and easy to follow teaching methods. The Essential Styles series of books presents students with a collection of patterns, charts, and insights covering a broad range of musical styles. As the title implies, the styles covered are essential for any versatile drummer to be capable of executing in a convincible manner. Co-authored with bassist Tom Warrington, this series also includes bass charts and insights that allow for organized practice and collaboration in the rhythm section. Book 1 covers a total of 30 different styles in the areas of pop, rock, funk, R&B, blues, fusion, Latin and jazz. Book 2 also encompasses a broad range of music, but focuses more on Latin and jazz styles. Each book includes play-along tracks that are stereo split with drums on the left channel and bass on the right. Simply panning to one channel or the other removes either the drums or the bass, allowing for more focused practice with the recorded click track. Published in 1990 and 1992, some of the included play-along tracks feel somewhat dated, such as the funk rock track that's highly reminiscent of Chaka Kahn's Masterjam and the 16th note shuffle that closely replicates Stevie Wonder's Superstition. That being said, these books are still highly relevant. A number of high-quality, multi-style book / CD packages by the likes of Dave Weckl, Russ Miller, and even other Houghton offerings have been released since Essential Styles hit the market in the early 90's; however, the material in these books is presented in such a straightforward, unintimidating manner that it is even approachable by most beginners. From a teaching perspective, these books are absolutely essential, and in my case still often beat out newer titles that have a more contemporary sound. If you are a drummer or bassist who enjoys playing different styles of music, and are committed to becoming as versatile as possible, then the Essential Styles series is an absolute no brainer.
Check out Steve's website at the following link: http://www.houghtonmusic.com/index.html_
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Dan Kinsinger is a versatile, freelance musician, audio engineer, and educator based in Canton Ohio. He has over 25 years of performance, recording, and teaching experience, is proficient in a broad range of musical styles, and productive in any performance environment.
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