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 Half Time Shuffle

The half time shuffle is a legendary drum groove. Both the Drumming System (affiliate link) and Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) have entire sections devoted to this groove. After a thorough analysis, the Drumming System (affiliate link) gives you more examples of how to execute this amazing pattern.

This is a really fun beat to learn and to teach. The term “half time” refers to the fact that you’re accenting the snare drum on beat 3. In most shuffles, the snare is accented on beats 2 and 4. By shifting the accent to beat 3, it changes the feel entirely. It sounds more relaxed and laid back. It’s groovy and fun to play. Remember that while playing in half time, its only the feel of notes that are cut in half. The actual time value remains the same.

What makes this fun is when you begin to combine ghost notes on the snare drum with accented snare backbeats. It’s important to remember to be  sharply aware of the volume of the snare notes.

You can create some real funky patterns!

The half time is used a lot in hip hop and some blues music. Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) actually categorizes the groove as R&B. In my opinion, regardless of the style of music, if you play a half time shuffle, it feels like there is a hint of reggae.

Examples of this groove include John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) on Fool in the Rain and Jeff Porcaro (Toto) on Rosanna. Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) shows you how to do the actual beat to Rosanna.

This groove can be extremely difficult to learn…it might even by a life long challenge for many drummers. In my opinion, if you are looking to master this pattern, I would check out the Drumming System (affiliate link).

Professional Progressive Rock Drumming

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has a great section on progressive rock. It’s kinda funny, but the instructor, Mike Michalkow, refers to it as wild and bizzare playing. He’s not saying this to insult the style, just stating an opinion (which I share). In fact, he’s a specialist in this style of drumming.

It’s easy to label it as wild and bizzare because it includes odd time playing, crazy fills, intricate snare and hi hat parts. Since most music is written in 4/4, any thing that is performed in an odd time signature might feel weird. Although not a progressive rock song, Dave Brubeck’s Take 5 is one of the few songs with an odd time signature that became wildly popular.

This style of rock began in late 1960’s with bands such as King Crimson, Genesis, and Yes. In the 1970’s bands like Pink Floyd and Rush became popular. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Dream Theater kept progressive rock alive. King Crimson, Rush, and Dream Theater are still actively performing today.

Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Chester Thompson, Phil Collins, and Bill Bruford are drummers who considered to be pioneers of progressive rock. Be sure to check out some of the incredible footage of each of them on YouTube.

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has progressive rock training for drummers at every level.

  1. For beginners, their are beats with snare drum notes in random spots and thirty second notes on the bass drum. It might seem difficult, but it starts off very simple.
  2. For intermediate drummers, the beats add more random snare drum notes, along with sixteenth notes on the snare and bass drum.
  3. For advanced drummers, the beats are straight up WACKY! You get stuff like broken ride cymbal patterns and two and handed sixteenth note triplet ride patterns. Really weird…but also really fun.