Table of Contents:
Drumming is an art that requires not only technical skills but also a deep understanding of rhythm and notation, accents and phrasing. “Accent On Accents: Modern Snare Drum Studies” by Elliot Fine & Marvin Dahlgren aims to provide drummers with a comprehensive guide to mastering both the fundamental stick control techniques and contemporary reading and notations used in drumming, through the use of accented patterns.
This review aims to delve into the various aspects of the book, its structure, content, pros, and cons, and ultimately provide a balanced assessment of its value for aspiring drummers.
Overview of the Book
Background and Purpose:
“Accent On Accents” is a drumming book written by Elliot Fine & Marvin Dahlgren, a couple of renowned drummers and educators. The book is designed to cater to drummers of all levels, from beginners looking to develop a solid foundation of dynamics to more experienced players seeking to enhance their dynamic skills and expand their repertoire.
With a focus on both traditional and contemporary drumming techniques, the book aims to bridge the gap between traditional notation and the evolving drumming styles of today. particularly in the advancement of dynamics within your playing.
Structure and Organization:
The book is organized into step-by-step progressive exercises so the drummer can learn the basics and develop those basics into more complex accented patterns as he progresses through the book. The main techniques involved are: Mastering Various Sicking Patterns illustrated through accented notes. A Wide Variety of Accented Note Variations.
Each of these includes playing patterns using 1/8th Notes, 1/8th Note Triplets, and 1/16th Note Variations. All of this progresses in a step-by-step process and becomes progressively more difficult as you develop your ability to play dynamic accents.
The book also introduces various odd time signatures later in the book. Along with some swing-style exercises and some more advanced Unison exercises.
As well as the basic structure of the presented material the authors go a little further with accents. They include topics such as playing accents every 3rd note, every 4th note, immediately before double strokes, immediately after double strokes, and all using various time signatures.
As you progress, each change in technique is explained in simple, understandable terms so you can get on with the practice and development of this essential aspect of drumming.
Elliot Fine & Marvin Dahlgren really do provide a comprehensive guide to playing dynamics through this first book as well as the second in this duet of masterpieces.
And, because of the explanations that are both clear and concise, this book becomes suitably easy for beginners to grasp the concepts and practice them effectively. But as with the Stick Control book, this is a long-term process of development and so the beginner or intermediate player should not be in too much of a rush to get through the book.
Mastery along the way will produce a far-reaching effect that enhances your current skills a hundredfold and more. So take care to practice each exercise adequately before moving on. As with all things drumming, the better you can play exercises slowly. The better the result will be.
Accent On Accents Techniques:
The techniques as suggested earlier are very simple. It is as easy as reading the instructions, understanding of which is made easy. Then practice each bar 20-100 times until you can play it smoothly. Then move on to the next bar and do the same. When you reach the end of a page or section, you can then repeat the whole page as one exercise. Or to make things easier, may want to start practicing every 4 bars as a single exercise before moving on the whole page.
The structure of the whole book has already been m=cevered but in its essence, the book delves into the intricacies of accenting techniques, which are crucial for adding dynamics and expression to drumming. Elliot Fine & Marvin Dahlgren explores various accented note patterns, as well as an underlying theme of ghost notes.
The step-by-step approach, accompanied by fantastically clear instructions, allows drummers to develop their skills progressively. Moving on, only when they are ready to do so.
One of the standout features of this book is its focus on sticking patterns through the use of accents of course. Although the Stick control book is a classic, Accent On Accents deserves as much exposure as it can vastly alter the trajectory of your drumming. Through regular practice, a bland player expands into a dynamic exciting player.
The book doesn’t mention it but it also improves chart reading, drum scores, and other reading systems. In short, this book will vastly improve your drumming.
My own experience of this was when I decided to go through the book for a few weeks. During those few weeks, I took my time and progressed really slowly. I only went through 50% of the book and my playing became more dynamic and my ability to listen to the dynamics as I was playing was phenomenal.
The big takeaway was that even basic beats became more advanced through the dynamics within the beats. I noticed this by accident but it was a welcome surprise.
Pros and Cons:
- Comprehensive Approach: The book covers a broad range of patterns, from basic to advanced stickings, making it suitable for drummers at different skill levels.
- Clear Explanations: The author’s ability to explain complex concepts in a concise and understandable manner is commendable. This clarity aids in effective learning and application.
- Progressive Learning: The book is structured in a logical and progressive manner, allowing drummers to develop their skills incrementally.
- Exercises: The inclusion of a vast array of exercises helps drummers apply the concepts and techniques in a practical context, enhancing their learning experience as they progress.
- Lack of Multimedia Resources: While the book provides written explanations, it lacks accompanying audio resources. The inclusion of multimedia materials would have further enriched the learning experience.
- Possible Limited Diversity: Although the content of the book is intended for various genres, some drummers might find that their preferred style of music is not extensively represented. But then all styles of drumming benefit and there are books available that cover different genres
“Accent On Accents: Modern Snare Drum Studies” by Elliot Fine & Marvin Dahlgren is a valuable resource for drummers seeking to enhance their dynamic drumming skills and broaden their understanding of drumming techniques and more contemporary stickings. The book offers a comprehensive approach, clear explanations, and progressive learning, making it suitable for drummers of all levels.
While the lack of multimedia resources can be seen as a drawback, the book’s strengths outweigh these minor limitations. Audio demonstrations are simply not needed with this book. Drummers who invest their time in studying this book will undoubtedly gain valuable insights and improve their dynamic drumming abilities and overall technique.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q1: Is this book suitable for beginners?
A1: Yes, the book caters to beginners by providing a thorough introduction to the fundamentals required to progress in this area. It explains concepts in a clear and accessible manner, making it suitable for novice drummers.
Q2: Does the book cover advanced techniques?
A2: Absolutely. The book progresses from basic techniques to more advanced reading exercises, ensuring that drummers of all levels can benefit from its content.
Q3: Are there any supplementary materials available?
A3: Unfortunately, the book does not come with supplementary audio or video resources. However, the written explanations and written exercises are sufficient for effective learning and practice.
Q4: Is the book genre-specific?
A4: While the book covers various genres, some drummers may find that their preferred style of music is not extensively represented. However, the concepts and techniques discussed in the book are applicable across all different musical genres.
Q5: Can this book help with sight-reading drum sheet music?
A5: Yes, the books accented exercises help the drummer to play different stickings using the fundamental 1/8th and 1/16th note patterns. Within those patterns is an array of musical notation variations. All of which can significantly aid in sight-reading skills.
“Accent On Accents: Modern Snare Drum Studies” is a highly recommended book for drummers who want to deepen their understanding of dynamic drumming techniques. Its comprehensive approach, clear explanations, and progressive learning make it a valuable resource for drummers of all levels.
While it may have minor limitations, the book’s strengths far outweigh them. By investing time and effort into studying this book, drummers can expect to improve their drumming abilities and expand their musical horizons.