General Sheet Music Reading Tips

Here are some quick pointers to help with using drumscore transcriptions.

  • Read the notation guides. Even if you've been playing for years and are a very experienced reader, there may be some small differences in the way I notate.
  • Listen to the song you’re learning – a lot. Half the battle when learning a new song is getting it in your head. Listening to it over and over again will help the structure sink in and give you a better idea of how the drum part ties in with the rest of the song.
  • A good tip is to sit away from your kit with the transcription, stick an MP3/CD of the song on through some headphones and follow the song through while you listen. This really helps you make sure you’re playing the parts correctly. It will also help you identify parts other instruments play that your part follows.
  • Focus on a section at a time. If you try and dive straight in with learning the whole thing you may get a little overwhelmed. Work through one section until you have it down, then move on. You will find that as you move through a song, parts are repeated. So by spending more time on the first sections you are actually working on the later ones too.
  • Identify problem areas. If there's one bar you keep getting wrong, don't just keep getting it wrong. Play it on its own over and over till you have it nailed, make sure you can fit it in with the bars around it, then go back to playing it all together.
  • Always practice your parts with a metronome. This will ensure all parts are exactly in time and will make sure all transitions between parts are smooth.
  • Play along with the original track. Most songs, especially modern ones, are recorded to a metronome so when you play a long to the track it is as good as playing to a metronome. You also get the benefit of having other instruments to follow.
  • Find some friends who've also learned the songs on other instruments and have a jam. It's a lot different playing along with other musicians than it is on your own (a lot more fun too!) and is something worth practising.
  • Memorize your parts as much as possible. Drumming whilst reading takes away from the feel as you’re not really concentrating on your playing as much as you should be. Don't feel you have to stick to the song note for note, improvisation is good!!
  • Ask for help if you need it. If something just isn't making sense to you getting advice from another drummer is the way to go. You can also contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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