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The Drummer's Link to Sight Reading Review by Christy Sensenig

Jerry Jennings and Ken Ballinger
J. Jennings Publishing Company
5012 Kahn Street
Carmichael, California 95608

The Drummer's Link to Sight Reading is a workbook/CD combination that is intended to assist the user in learning to sight-read music as it applies to playing the drums. The CD guides the learner through the exercises but does not repeat each word in the workbook. The learner is encouraged to play along with the CD to help ensure a good understanding of the material. The CD presents drumming with a band minus the drums first. Then it demonstrates the live drum sound. There are 16 lessons and 8 song exercises in the workbook. These cover a wide range of skills, from quarter and eighth notes, rests, repeats, basic rock beats, kick and snare drum melodies, and ties to fills, sixteenth notes, and time signatures. Also included in the workbook is an appendix for traffic signs, dynamic markings, tempo markings, and multiple endings.

The layout of this course is such that you would want to progress through each lesson in order, but is short enough that it could be done at the learner's own pace. Having a basic knowledge of the sounds created with the drum would be a prerequisite to this course. But other than that, the author goes into much detail regarding the basic skills needed to sight read music for drums and will give you the tools necessary to learn those skills. This course is intended for any beginning drummer and can be used in any homeschool setting, regardless of method. By using it either as a structured lesson or taking each lesson at his or her own pace, any learner would have the opportunity to be successful with this program.

I like the emphasis on sight reading music. Whether the intent is to play independently or with a group, this skill is so useful. Independently, the learner can focus on a much larger range of music if the obstacle of reading that music is removed. And when working with a group, being able to read charts as it pertains to the other players within that group is equally important. Having the CD to practice with is an added bonus. It's like practicing with a band in the comfort of your own home, without the pressure of performing perfectly.

The Drummer's Link to Sight Reading is a wonderful course and would be a welcome addition to your home library, especially for the beginning drummer in your family. Share this with them, and they'll be sight reading music for drums in no time!

Product review by Christy Sensenig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2009