Initium I by Jacques Delacluse
Recommended for: Beginning Percussion/Snare Drum Students; Older students looking to improve reading skills
Skills Covered: Reading skills on snare drum using only combinations of basic elements including
Why this Book Stands Out: The Initium Series contains etudes that are designed to reinforce rhythmic structures and accuracy for the percussionist. The very gradual addition of new elements helps students really master reading basics and build reading confidence.
Available at: Steve Weiss Music, Lone Star Percussion, and Amazon. This book is very unlikely to be found at a local retailer
"Fresh Approach" Curriculum: How it Works
I. Lessons (p. 6-52)
"A Fresh Approach to the Snare Drum" is built around 20 Lessons that gradually introduce new concepts and techniques. A typical lesson is two pages and contains most of (if not all) of the following:
Technique Workout - utilizing the EXERCISES in the back part of the book
Music Theory - often related to music reading skills. This can be in the form of "Fill in the Blanks", drawing rhythms or bar lines, and more. These sections are also sometimes labeled "Homework".
Coordination Exercises - to help develop interdependence between the hands.
New Rudiments - new sticking patterns, or "Rudiments", are the building blocks of percussion music. New ones are introduced each lesson.
Playing Exercises - These are the primary focus of each lesson; they are also sometimes preceded by Key Exercises, simpler cersions of the material in the later exercises to get a student started. This material should always be played with a metronome or the corresponding "Play-Along" tracks (more on this below).
Rudimental Etude - most lessons end with a short solo that combines elements from the current (and previous) lessons, including rudiments, technique workout, and coordination exercise material. These act as a sort of litmus test to see if a student is ready to move on to the next lesson.
The lessons are arranged in groups of 5, with a "Graduation Test" after the 5th lesson of each group. These tests are designed to give the student an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the previous lessons.
II. The Appendix (p. 53-69)
The Appendix is designed to give students additional practice on the material covered in the lessons. These will sometimes be assigned with their corresponding lesson, and other times will be assigned as review material before a "Graduation Test". This material will also be used to help reinforce reading skills. Like anything else, these should always be played with a metronome, backing track, or other timekeeping device. For a full description of more ways to use this section, please read p. 53 in the book.
III. Exercises (p. 72-77)
While the lessons may take up many more pages, the material in this section has a much longer shelf life. The exercises in this section will be assigned alongside the lessons to help build the essential techniques needed to be successful in the lessons, rudiments, and etudes presented earlier in the book.
A "Lesson Progress Chart" can be found on p. 72. This shows which exercises (and what tempos) should be used for each lesson. We will use this as a way for students to see their continued success over time.
IV. Rudiments (p. 78-81)
As mentioned above, "rudiments" are sticking patterns that are commonplace in percussion music. For a percussionist, learning rudiments is akin to a pianist learning scales and arpeggios. These are introduced gradually, a handful at a time in each lesson. The complete PAS 40 rudiment chart is located in this section as well as mini progress charts* to record tempo progress on each rudiment.
This book makes use of the Vic Firth 40 Essential Rudiments Website (more on this below).
*-many of the tempos written in these mini charts are incorrect. I will provide students with a chart that has correct tempos. However, the mini charts are still useful for checking off the completion of the different tempo levels.
In addition to the sections listed above, there are supplemental sections on a few different concert percussion instruments as well as drum set. We will not use these sections often.
I. Play-Along Tracks
All of the lessons have corresponding audio tracks that