Author - Sandy Gennaro
Beginning in the early 90’s, Alfred Music began publishing a series of educational books derived from material being taught in the classrooms of New York City’s thecollective school of music. These early books were authored by renowned musicians and educators including Kim Plainfield, Bob Weiner, Frank Malabe, and Duduka De Fonseca. In the mid 2000’s, thecollective once again released a series of outstanding educational materials to the general public. Published by Carl Fischer Music, the Contemporary Styles series of books contain material authored by collective staff and derived from classroom curriculum. Targeting intermediate to advanced students, these books present an enormous amount of information across a variety of musical styles. Contemporary Rock Styles for the Drums provides an accessible starting point to acquaint newcomers to this valuable collection of material.
Unlike other selections in the Contemporary Styles series, the title of this book does not fully characterize the diversity of its contents. Contemporary Rock Styles for the Drums covers everything from straight eighth note rock and funk, to rockabilly swing, New Orleans second line and reggae. It's safe to say that this book is definitely written for those seeking to expand their musical repertoire. Each style is presented as a self contained chapter consisting of historical background and references, musical examples, performance tips, exercises, variations, and charts referencing the included play-along tracks. The book progresses in a traditional sequence, beginning with basic eighth note styles, increasing in difficulty with shuffle and blues patterns, and culminating with the more challenging reggae and odd time feels. Each chapter transitions logically into the next, with challenging variation patterns preparing for what comes next. This structure makes the book ideal for teaching, and I often reference it in my private drum lessons. One minor criticism from a teaching perspective is that a noticeable discrepancy exists in the difficulty among many of the variation patterns. Nonetheless, this variance does well to uncover student weaknesses, and as a teaching tool the book is invaluable based solely on the scope of information presented. The included discography and listening suggestions are especially helpful in guiding students to real word musical examples. Overall, Contemporary Rock Styles for the drums is a well thought out, cohesive package that presents a variety of challenging material while maintaining the ever important fun factor. From both learning and teaching perspectives, it doesn't get any better than that.
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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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