Berklee Jazz Drums

Berklee Jazz Drums by Casey Scheuerell Detailed Review

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4.6/5Overall Score

"Berklee Jazz Drums" serves as a guide for drummers looking to develop their jazz drumming abilities. Authored by Casey Scheuerell, an accomplished drummer and faculty member at Berklee College of Music, this book offers a structured approach to learning and mastering jazz drumming techniques.

Specs
  • Structure and Organization: Comprehensive coverage of fundamental concepts
  • Content Analysis: Exploration of various jazz styles and techniques - Structured progression from basic concepts to advanced topics
Pros
  • Well-organized and logical structure
  • Clear explanations
  • Suitable for self-study
  • Comprehensive coverage of jazz drumming
  • Written by experienced Berklee faculty member
Cons
  • Exclusive focus on jazz drumming
  • Lack of accompanying video content

Table of Contents:

Introduction

The world of jazz drumming is vast and intricate, and aspiring drummers often find themselves in search of comprehensive resources to improve their skills. One such resource is the book “Berklee Jazz Drums” by Casey Scheuerell.

This review aims to provide a detailed overview of the book, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, and overall value for jazz drummers, and drummers in general.

This overview of the Book “Berklee Jazz Drums” serves as a guide for drummers looking to develop their jazz drumming abilities. Authored by Casey Scheuerell, an accomplished drummer and faculty member at Berklee College of Music, this book offers a structured approach to learning and mastering jazz drumming techniques.

The book is an exceptional jazz drumming book that covers a wide foundation and although it can be studied and practiced by the complete beginner. It’s a good idea to get a year’s drumming under your belt before tackling this book.

I know I say this for most reviews I do, but that’s simply because it happens to be true from my perspective. As with most beginner drum books, this one gets quite advanced quite quickly so I would personally suggest some more basic books before embarking on the Berkley Jazz Drums program described in this book.

But that isn’t to say you should skip this book. It’s a massively valuable jazz drumming resource that any serious student of drums should consider.

But as I have said elsewhere, this book is more of a “learn-to-read music” book than it is a beginner’s jazz book. And to be honest, that could be said of most beginner drumming books. Which of course is the reason I began writing the Drumming Foundation books in the first place. To provide a step-by-step process of learning drums.

Of course, all books attempt to do this, some better than others. However, in this particular case, the Berkley Jazz drums book should be put on pause for the beginner. If on the other hand, you have been playing for a while, give it a go and see how you get n with it. As can be expected it’s very much a theory-based, technical, yet practical book to learn from.

So now I have had my say, let’s take a more practical look at the content and features of the book.

Structure and Organization

The book follows a logical progression, ensuring a smooth learning experience for drummers of all levels, even the complete beginner. But please, for your own sake consider my previous notes before taking this book on. However, thats not to say that even the complete beginner shouldn’t own a copy, to enable him or her to get used to the drumming notation and theory.

Like most books, the Berkley Jazz Drums book begins with foundational concepts and gradually progresses to more advanced topics. The organization of chapters and sub-sections is clear and well thought out, making it easy for readers to navigate through the material.

Content Analysis

Fundamental Concepts

The book starts by covering fundamentals such as jazz history, basic kit tuning, and setup. Then moves on to the fundamental concepts of playing jazz drums such as rudiments and basic jazz pattern feels. It provides clear explanations and visual aids, ensuring that readers grasp these essential building blocks before moving on to more complex topics.

It must be said that the rudiment section is quite comprehensive.

Rudiments and Technique

A solid foundation in rudiments is crucial for any drummer, and “Berklee Jazz Drums” dedicates a substantial portion of the book to this topic. The author introduces and demonstrates various rudiments, providing exercises and practice tips to develop technique, speed, and control.

Most of which come from Alan Dawson’s methods. Alan Dawson used Ted Reeds Syncopation book as a basic foundation for jazz drumming.

Jazz Styles and Interpretation

One of the book’s strengths lies in its exploration of different jazz styles and their corresponding drumming techniques. It delves into swing, Latin, Brazilian rhythms, Afro-Cuban rhythms, Afro-Caribbean, funk, and more.

Scheuerell explains the unique characteristics of each style and offers exercises to help drummers internalize the rhythmic nuances and articulations specific to jazz.

Soloing and Improvisation

Improvisation is a hallmark of jazz music, and “Berklee Jazz Drums” addresses this aspect of drumming in detail. Both in the general build-up of exercises as well as a whole section on soloing techniques.

The book provides guidance on developing soloing skills, including concepts such as trading fours, comping, and interacting with other musicians in a jazz ensemble.

Transcriptions and Analysis

To reinforce the concepts discussed, the book includes transcriptions of various jazz tunes to play along with. There’s also a list of standard jazz tunes to take a look at. This short list allows drummers to study the playing styles of renowned artists and gain insights into their playing and improvisational approaches. The author stresses that this is just a short list to get the student started learning various jazz forms. They do offering valuable context and guidance for aspiring jazz drummers.

I hope you can see that although this book may not be suitable for a complete beginner, it still offers some valuable insights to the beginner as well as the more advanced drummer who wants to learn to read drum music and charts. It is quite in-depth in this regard and so shouldn’t be overlooked by any drummer as a learning source.

So now, let’s take a look at some pros and cons

Features, Pros, and Cons

“Berklee Jazz Drums” offers numerous benefits for drummers seeking to improve their jazz skills. The book’s strengths include its comprehensive coverage of fundamental concepts, clear explanations, and well-structured organization. The inclusion of transcriptions and analysis adds depth and practical application to the learning process.

However, some readers may find the book’s focus on jazz drumming limiting if they are interested in exploring other genres. Additionally, while the exercises provided are valuable, some drummers might prefer more interactive multimedia resources to complement their learning experience.

That said, let’s take a look at the main features, pros, and cons.

Features:

Pros:

Cons:

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Is “Berklee Jazz Drums” suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, the book is designed to accommodate drummers of all levels. It starts with fundamental concepts and gradually progresses to more advanced techniques, making it accessible to beginners. But please read the review for my personal point of view.

Question 2: Does the book include audio or video content?

A: No video is included, the book does not come with accompanying video content. However, it provides detailed explanations and notation, as well as audio demonstrations where applicable, allowing readers to practice and apply the concepts independently.

Question 3: Can this book be used for self-study?

A: Absolutely. “Berklee Jazz Drums” is structured in a way that enables self-study. The clear explanations, exercises, and transcriptions provide a wealth of material for individual practice and development. However, I would recommend additional books to support this one for the complete beginner and intermediate players.

Conclusion

In conclusion, “Berklee Jazz Drums” by Casey Scheuerell is a valuable resource for drummers seeking to enhance their jazz drumming skills. The book’s comprehensive coverage of fundamental concepts, its exploration of various jazz styles, and the inclusion of transcriptions and analysis make it a worthwhile investment for aspiring jazz drummers.

While it may have some limitations, such as its exclusive focus on jazz and the absence of accompanying video content, the book’s overall content and organization compensate for these drawbacks.

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