Reading The Exercises

There are many styles of writing out there, so we thought we’d better cover some of the basics of how we do it.

If not specifically defined/explained, all sticking is alternating with a right hand lead. Of course, reversing the sticking for any given exercise will help to improve dexterity. So be sure to not limit yourself to what’s actually written.

Rim Shots
Displayed with an ‘x’ notehead. May or may not have an accent or marcato articulation above it.

Check Patterns
Measures that have “Ch.” denote the check pattern needs to played. Usually this is the same as the first bar. Additional info will be provided if needed.

Displayed with an ‘open’ notehead with a backslash going through it. Applies mostly to quad exercises, but could be in pad (snare) musical excerpts.


Defining Ability Levels

All exercises have been assigned levels. The basis for each one is how difficult it is at a given tempo, be it at 110 or 120. Keep in mind that choosing the most applicable level for practice exercises will never be an exact science.

Level 1
‘Beginner’ level. The student is brand new or has not been reading music and/or playing very long. …

Level 2
‘Novice’ level (kind of a gray zone, not beginner, but not yet intermediate). The student is starting to get a solid feel for the more basic exercises and their reading is improving, but they still haven’t quite crossed the threshold to the next level. …

Level 3
‘Intermediate’ level. Hands are getting much better, and timing of out-of-the-comfort-zone tempos are more accurate. …

Level 4
‘Advanced’ level. The student can play most everything and can do so “cleanly” at almost all tempos. …

Level 5
‘Very advanced’ level. The student is nearing the title of, dare we say it, deity. Many of the Level 4 exercises at faster tempos could be categorized into this level. …



Concert Sticking
In an eighth note passage, the beat gets the right hand, the ‘&‘ gets the left hand. In a sixteenth passage, the beat and ‘&‘ get the right hand, the ‘e‘ and ‘uh‘ get the left hand. Example exercise: Walter Cronkite.