Review of Learn and Master Drums by Dan Sherill

Legacy Learning Systems is the company that produces Learn and Master Drums by Dan Sherrill (affiliate link). This company has an incredible reputation for creating high-quality music instructional courses.

A former student of mine told me that he had ordered this course to brush up on basics and absolutely LOVED it. I ordered a copy the next day.

After watching the videos, reading the workbook, and trying the exercises, I can confidently say that this is a solid drumming course. I really think that Dan Sherrill’s approach will help beginners set and achieve small goals. This is so important at this stage.

The best aspect of Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) is the workbook. I have never seen a more thorough and detailed book on drumming. The workbook chapters go in order with the DVD chapters. The important stuff is highlighted. This makes learning drums organized, easy, and fun.

I thinkLearn & Master Drums (affiliate link) would have made learning the drums more fun for me. Dan Sherrill does an excellent job of simplifying things. Let’s face it: sitting behind a set of drums can be overwhelming. Dan does a great job of easing you into more challenging material.

I constantly feel the need to refresh myself on the basics and I love the level of in this course. My favorite section of the course was the Moeller Technique section. I found Dan’s demonstrations helpful and the exercises were practical.

No drum course covers everything. There is always more to learn. Despite that, Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) is an extremely thorough course for beginner and intermediate drummers.

Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) offers a FREE student online discussion board. You can post questions and answer others questions. This is invaluable because at creates a synergistic learning environment.

At some point the aid of a drum teacher (affiliate link) will be needed to take your drumming to a higher level. I believe that the real time feedback you can get to correct you is something that no video can replace.

Although this course is great, I don’t believe that it’s the best drum course available. The best drum course online is Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System (affiliate link).

Check out this side by side comparison of these two DVD drum courses.

The Top 2 Professional Drum Set Courses on DVD

If you type the words “drum course” or into your favorite search engine, numerous results will come up.

Learn and Master Drums with Dan Sherrill (affiliate link) and
Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System (affiliate link)
are the Top 2 Drum Courses Available.

So which one is the best?

Watch My Video Comparison

Course Comparison Chart

Drum Course Learn and Master Drums
(affiliate link)
The Complete Drumming System
(affiliate link)
Instructor Dan Sherrill Mike Michalkow
Review Read My Complete Review Read My Complete Review
Price $149 $197
Purchase Buy Now (affiliate link) Buy Now (affiliate link)
DVD’s 12 Full Length DVD’s 20 Full Length DVD’s
Play Along CD’s 5 CD’s 15 CD’s
Workbooks 112 Page Workbook 5 Workbooks
Bonuses Online Support Forum Start-Up Resources & Guide
One Handed Drum Roll DVD
Drum Gear Buyers Guide DVD
Members Support Forum
Unlimited Coaching
Level Beginner, Intermediate Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Guarantee 60 Days – Full Refund 90 Days – Full Refund

[Read more…]

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 5

To my knowledge, there is one drumming course out their that is similar to the Drumming System (affiliate link). It is called Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link). After trying both courses, I believe that the Drumming System (affiliate link) is a far better product. This course goes into much more detail than
Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link).

Click here to read my review of Learn and Master Drums (affiliate link). I also did a side by side comparison of both DVD drum set courses. Click here to see how the Drumming System (affiliate link) stacks up.

You might be wondering if the course functions well on it’s own, or if you’ll need the guidance of teacher, additional books, or additional videos? If you are good at self-study and want to learn at your own pace, this is an excellent investment. In fact, if you aren’t good at self-study, please don’t buy this course. You will end up frustrated. It requires an incredible amount of discipline.

Keep in mind that it has a money-back guarantee and offers unlimited lifetime support. If you have any follow up questions, they will do their best to help you out. As a plus, the support department has drummers on staff.

At some point the aid of a drum teacher (affiliate link) will be needed to take your drum skills to a higher level.  I believe that the real time feedback you can get to correct you is something that no video can replace.

In terms of the price of the course, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. After going through the entire course, I firmly believe that it’s priced too low. Initially, I was skeptical. I thought that it was going to be an over-priced, over-marketed product. After watching the first DVD, I was impressed and hooked! I sincerely believe that the Drumming System (affiliate link) is worth a lot more than what they are selling it for.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 4

As a drum teacher, I use the Drumming System (affiliate link) in conjunction with my lessons, but only with certain students. As I’ve said before, it’s not the right tool for everyone. This doesn’t mean that it’s a bad investment. In fact, I believe it was one of the best investments I have made in a drumming educational product.

As a drum teacher, I attempt to cover every aspect of playing the drums in great detail. I also customize the lessons for each student based on their goals and learning style. Regardless, most drum students benefit from supplementary learning material. The beauty of supplementary learning material is that a student might hear or see something I taught them, taught in a different way, and then they master it.  Therefore, with some students, I use the Drumming System (affiliate link) as a supplement to the lessons I teach them.

If I have a student who is very serious about taking their drumming to the highest level possible, I strongly recommend that they purchase it and work with it.  Students who are looking to major in music in college, play drums professionally, and/or teach drums have really benefited from this course. Since the majority of my drum students tend to be hobbyists, I only suggest it if it seemed like a good fit for them. Truthfully, this course is hardcore. If you are currently taking drum lessons, this might a great supplement for you.

On a side note, I gained a great respect for Mike Michalkow as a drummer and a teacher through watching the DVD’s and working out of the books. His approach to teaching drums has given me some fresh ideas for my students.  I was so impressed with him that I’ve actually ordered all of his other courses.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 3

As a professional drummer, I would totally use the Drumming System (affiliate link). In fact, watching it for the purpose of doing this review taught me so much.

It really refreshed me on some fundamentals that I take for granted. It also reminded me about some details that I had forgotten about. As a drum teacher,  it gave me a new ideas on how to approach certain material in my lessons.

I have incorporated the course’s Practice Routine Generator (affiliate link) into my practice routine. In fact, there is an entire DVD dedicated to practice. It emphasized the importance of practice in a fun way and how to go about structuring your practice routine.

The foot technique DVD really explained bass drum technique very well. For years, I have been curious about the slide technique and heel toe technique. Since watching that DVD, I have now incorporated both into my playing. The speed DVD gave me a few tips that have improved my overall speed.

The folk drumming videos really helped me and I felt the rock section was a great review for me. I play rock a lot and it reminded me about the subtle nuances that you need to play in each style. For example, grunge, alternative, heavy metal, and speed metal all require different types of details.

For weeks I had these DVD’s playing on my television. And then one day I actually called Jared Falk, the producer of course. I congratulated him on such an excellent product, but I mentioned it was LONG! He laughed and said, “You didn’t realize what you signed up for when you ordered it, huh?”

In the future, I plan on reviewing it every so often, just to stay on top of the basics. I’ve learned the hard way that as you excel in your drumming, it’s easy to forget certain fundamentals.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 2

I get many emails from people asking me if the Drumming System (affiliate link) would be a good product for someone who is new to the drums. I truly believe that it depends on the person learning.

Knowing what I know now, as a professional drummer and a drum teacher, I had to think about whether or I not this course would lay a strong foundation for me if I were starting drums all over again.

For someone like myself, this would be the perfect course to learn drums with. It would be great for me because I am a self-starter and self-disciplined. I stick with things until I get them.

In reality, not everyone is like this. Therefore, starting out with a course like this could be overwhelming to a beginner. It might even turn them off of playing drums because it’s an incredible amount of material.

If you’re not self-disciplined, I would suggest NOT buying it. It doesn’t mean that I think it is a bad product. Again, it’s meant for someone who is self-disciplined.

Fortunately, the Drumming System (affiliate link) comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee. Most people know whether or not this program is right for them within the first 30 days. Regardless, that guarantee takes away all the risk from you.

The material in the Drumming System (affiliate link) will give a beginner a very well-rounded and solid foundation in drumming. For most people, the pace that Mike Michalkow teaches at is be perfect for learning drums. He discusses the most complex techniques so calmly. thoroughly, and in great detail.

As I remember my early days of learning how to drum, I really struggled with fills. Mike Micahlkow has a very smooth step by step approach to fills. His approach would have helped me so much if I were starting drums all over.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 1

After days of viewing the Drumming System (affiliate link) videos, analyzing what Mike Michalkow was teaching, and trying most of the exercises, I had a lot to say about it. Overall, it’s extremely thorough drum course. The drum course is incredibly detailed. My biggest complaints were that it’s not widely available at local musical stores and it’s not meant for certain types of learners.

No course, class, school, or teacher can cover everything. Regardless, this really covers the fundamentals of playing the drums in great detail. Mike Michalkow is a phenomenal teacher and the way he goes about teaching keeps you engaged. He teaches in a way that creates a relaxed and fun learning atmosphere. If you’ve played drums for any length of time, you know the importance of playing the drums in a relaxed manner. Mike Michalkow naturally helps facilitate this.

Although I didn’t think that any one DVD or subject was better than another, the DVD on drum fills really stands out in my mind. It was really organized. One of things that really impressed me about the drum fills DVD was the fact that you get 150 fills and it covers every skill level.

When it comes to grooves, he goes into very in-depth explanations of how to execute each one. This is extremely important for any student. Being able to play the notes of a beat is one thing, but being able to execute the feel correctly is something else. The rock drumming DVD’s were really well done because they went into the specifics of each style of rock. Learning basic rock beats are great, but it I haven’t found a drumming course that covers folk, alternative, grunge, punk, etc.

For many people, this a perfect course. Although it seems to be advertised as a course for beginners, there is a ton of material for drummers at every skill level. For the price, you can’t beat it.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

The Blues Shuffle for Drums

While the shuffle is mostly associated with the blues, it’s a pattern that can be played in any style of music. As a drummer, it’s important to this pattern and all of its variations. While in high school, I studied drums with Chet Doboe. He told me that ability to play a good shuffle would allow me to make more money as a professional drummer. While I can’t draw a direct correlation between my ability to play this groove and my income, I will say that it has come in handy on many occasions.

Here are the basics:

  1. The cymbal pattern is based on triplets.
  2. You play the first and last triplet of every quarter note.
    1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let 1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let
  3. As it gets quicker, you’ll eventually stop counting and feel it.

To learn more about the basics, check out this article on blues drumming.

My friend, fellow drummer and drum teacher, Chris Scherer said to me once that he felt people get thrown off when learning to play triplets. There is something about adding that third note to the rhythm that makes it a lot more difficult than counting eighth or sixteenth notes. As a drum teacher, I couldn’t agree more.

It’s important to get comfortable counting and feeling triplets.

While the groove itself might seem simple, it can be quite difficult to execute. It’s important to count out loud, go slow, and use a metronome.

According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), the following grooves are important to know:

Jump Shuffle

This is a fast pattern. It’s mostly about what is going on with the hi hat.

  1. The hi hat opens on beats 1 and 3, while closing on 2 and 4.
  2. Next, eliminate the “let” of beats 1 and 3.
  3. This essentially becomes your standard jazz cymbal pattern.
  4. Accent the snare on beats 2 and 4.
  5. The bass drum can play a variety of patterns.

Texas Shuffle

This can be challenging to play at first because both hands play at the exact same time. One is on the ride (or hi hat), the other on the snare. Then accent beats 2 and 4 on the snare. The bass drum can be on beats 1 and 3 or on every quarter note. This is a driving groove! Check out music by Stevie Ray Vaughn with Chris Layton on drums.

Kansas City Shuffle

Like the Texas variation, this is a double shuffle (both ands play the exact same time). It’s a lot faster than the Texas variation. Played on the ride, it sounds happier.

Other Variations

Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) teaches even more grooves, such as the Flat Tire Shuffle, the Driving Shuffle, and the Charleston Shuffle.

Professional Classic Rock Drumming

Hats off to the Drumming System (affiliate link). Their is an entire DVD dedicated to classic rock drumming! This style of music is an interesting subject because when it was invented, it wasn’t classic, it was new. What we consider classic rock is really older rock. You can listen to radio stations and hear bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, The Who, AC/DC, the Eagles, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, The Doors, and The Beatles. The list goes on and on.

As a drum teacher, I’ve had much success turning people on to this style of music who weren’t into it at first. The reality that my students eventually come to realize is that you need to understand older rock to understand contemporary rock. When a student of mine reaches a certain level in their playing, we begin working out of the Led Zeppelin Mothership – Drum Transcriptions Book (affiliate link).

As we get into John Bonham’s mind and learn songs note for note, I’ve witnessed some of the most dramatic progress in students. After finishing the Led Zeppelin Mothership – Drum Transcriptions Book (affiliate link), I never ever get a question from a student about any of the rock drummers of today. Interesting coincidence.

Call me biased, but I truly believe that John Bonham’s drumming style and sound is not only the foundation for much of today’s rock drumming, but today’s drumming as a whole, including hip hop.

The Drumming System (affiliate link) contains a variety of classic drum beats for a variety of levels.

  1. Beginner classic rock beats. Some of the greatest beats were really simple, but fit the music well.
  2. Intermediate classic rock beats. A lot of the beats are two bar patterns. The second bar is drastically different than the first bar. This was common with many classic rock bands.
  3. Advanced classic rock beats. These are beats taken from some famous classic rock songs. It’s fun to guess which beat goes with what song.

As with every style in drumming, listening is the most important aspect of learning it. In fact, I would suggest putting more time into listening with focused intention than practicing the rock beats of the past.

You rock!

The Best Age to Start Drum Lessons

Best Age to Start Drum Lessons

From time to time, I get calls and emails from people around the country asking about the best age to start drum lessons. There is no right answer to this, but here are some general guidelines that might help you make the right decision for you and your child:

  1. For most children, the best age to start drum lessons is 8 years old. By this age, they are used to the routine of school and doing homework (hopefully). They are also developing a better sense of mind-body awareness by this age.
  2. For children younger than 8 years old, I highly recommend group music classes, such as Kindermusik, where they can interact with other kids. Even if you put your child in an excellent music class, they still might be eager to take private drum lessons.
  3. There are some children, younger than 8 years old, that can handle the focus of private lessons. If you think your child is capable, I would suggest finding a drum teacher in your area and trying it out. Click here to find a drum teacher near you (affiliate link).
  4. To test the waters before investing in private drum lessons, try a professional drum course that shows you
    how to play drums. The The Drumming System (affiliate link) and Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) are two incredible video drum courses.
  5. Another option is to buy a small, cheap drum set, and let your child just bang away. This can include having them play along to their favorite songs. Although they won’t be learning any formal skills, they will be exploring their own creativity and learn how to be proactive. Many great drummers have started this way.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

A word of caution: If your child starts taking private drum lessons and is truly unable to stay focused and keep up with practicing, it might turn them off from music completely. Therefore it’s important to be very sensitive to how they respond to lessons, if you decide to go that route.