The 15 Most Impactful Books About Drumming

July 17, 2023

Welcome to your ultimate guide to the best books about drumming, a resource that will transform your percussive journey. 

Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate player, or an advanced drummer, this article lists five top books for each level, helping you master rhythm, technique, and various drumming styles. 

For those in a hurry: beginners should start with “Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer,” intermediates will benefit from “The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary As Taught by Alan Dawson,” and advanced drummers will find “The Art of Bop Drumming” invaluable. 

Discover why these books are essential for every drummer’s library and how they can elevate your skills.

Top books about drumming

For Beginners

stick control book

Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone

This is the drumming equivalent of learning your ABCs. “Stick Control” is all about building a solid foundation. It provides exercises that improve your stick control and precision, which are crucial for any drummer. It’s like learning how to hold a pencil correctly before you start writing.

syncopation for the modern drummer

Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

“Syncopation” is your next step. It introduces you to different rhythms and gets you comfortable with playing off the beat. Think of it as learning how to form sentences after you’ve mastered the alphabet.

drummers link to sight reading

The Drummer’s Link to Sight Reading by Jerry Jennings & Ken Ballinger

This book is your key to unlocking the skill of sight reading in drumming. It provides a systematic approach to reading rhythms and drum notation, which is essential for studio work, band rehearsals, and live performances. It’s like learning a new language that allows you to communicate with other musicians more effectively

drum handbook

The Drum Kit Handbook: How to Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Drum Set by Paul Balmer

Think of this book as your drumming DIY guide. It teaches you everything from setting up your drum kit to troubleshooting common issues. It’s like having a handyman guide specifically for drummers.

mark wessels drum book

A Fresh Approach to the Snare Drum by Mark Wessels

This book is your bridge from beginner to intermediate. It introduces more complex rhythms and techniques but in a way that’s easy to follow. It’s like graduating from primary school and getting ready for high school.

For Intermediate Drummers

alan dawson drumming book

The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary As Taught by Alan Dawson by John Ramsay

This book is like your drumming dictionary. It expands your drumming vocabulary with new rhythms, fills, and techniques. It’s a must-have for any drummer looking to step up their game.

advanced techniques for the modern drummer

Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin

Don’t let the title fool you. This book is perfect for intermediate drummers ready to explore advanced techniques. It’s like taking a masterclass in drumming.

Books About Drumming

Groove Essentials 1.0 by Tommy Igoe

This book is all about finding your groove. It helps you explore different drumming styles and find your unique sound. It’s like learning different languages and finding the one that speaks to you.

the breakbeat bible

The Breakbeat Bible by Mike Adamo

This book is your guide to breakbeats, the backbone of many modern music genres. It’s like learning the secret sauce of your favorite songs.

johnny rabb drum book

The official Freehand Technique by Johnny Rabb

This book is your guide to mastering the Freehand Technique, a unique drumming style developed by Johnny Rabb himself. It’s like learning a secret drumming language that allows you to play faster and more complex rhythms. It’s a must-read for drummers looking to push their technical skills to the next level.


For Advanced Drummers

bip bop drumming book

The Art of Bop Drumming by John Riley

This book dives deep into the world of jazz drumming. It’s like taking a trip to New Orleans and immersing yourself in the birthplace of jazz.

joe morello book

Master Studies by Joe Morello

This book is like your PhD in drumming. It offers advanced exercises that challenge even the most experienced drummers.

new breed gary chester

The New Breed by Gary Chester

This book pushes you to your limits. It’s all about developing independence between your limbs, a skill that separates the good drummers from the great.

time functioning patterns

Time Functioning Patterns by Gary Chaffee

This book is your guide to complex time signatures. It’s like learning advanced math, but for drumming.

4 way coordination book

4-Way Coordination by Marvin Dahlgren and Elliot Fine

This book is the ultimate test of your coordination. It’s like juggling while riding a unicycle, but for drumming. It’s tough, but mastering it will take your drumming to new heights.

The Importance of Drumming Books

Drumming books are more than just a collection of notes and rhythms; they’re a roadmap to becoming a better drummer. Let’s delve into why they’re so crucial.

Understanding Rhythm and Timing

Rhythm and timing are the heart and soul of drumming. They’re what make a beat come alive and get people moving. Drumming books, like “Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer”, offer exercises that help you internalize these concepts. 

They guide you through different rhythmic patterns, gradually increasing in complexity, allowing you to develop a solid sense of timing.

Mastering Techniques

Technique is the key to playing efficiently and preventing injuries. Books like “Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer” provide detailed breakdowns of various techniques, from the basic single stroke roll to more complex patterns like the paradiddle. 

They offer step-by-step instructions, often with accompanying illustrations, making it easier to understand and execute these techniques.

Learning Different Styles

Drumming isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are numerous styles, each with its unique feel and rhythm. Books like “The Art of Bop Drumming” expose you to these different styles, from jazz and blues to rock and Latin. They provide exercises and examples that help you understand and play these styles authentically.

Wrap up

Books about drumming are invaluable resources for drummers. They help beginners build a solid foundation, assist intermediate drummers in expanding their skills, and challenge advanced drummers with complex concepts. 

These books also inspire creativity, refine technique, and enhance understanding of rhythm and timing. Plus, they make excellent gifts for drummers, supporting their passion and continuous learning journey.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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