Essential Drum Lessons With The Greats

Alfred Music Publishing, the home to the world’s largest percussion print catalog, releases Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats Book & 2 CD method, a compilation of critical lessons on the techniques, concepts, grooves, and fills of and by eight renowned drummers — produced and co-written by highly respected drummer, author, and educator John Xepoleas.

Combining the best from the two original Lessons with the Greats drum titles, Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats book features two lesson-matching CDs that contain lessons and performances by Tim Alexander, Kenny Aronoff, Gregg Bissonette, Peter Erskine, Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Steve Smith, and Dave Weckl. Students can listen, study, and learn as these dynamic drummers share in-depth lessons of concepts that they are best known for—with many secrets revealed along the way. Topics and concepts include: Warm-ups, solos, fills, double-bass grooves, polyrhythms, unique sticking patterns, ostinatos, playing in odd time, and developing the perfect touch.

The method is designed for drummers of any level with basic knowledge of drum notation who seek to define new boundaries and develop their drum playing to full potential. The companion CDs include over 140 minutes of audio performed by the actual artists.

As part of Alfred’s commitment to improving the environment, the book is printed on 100% recycled paper.

Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats Book & 2 CDs set is now available for $26.99 at music retailers and online through the Drummer Cafe.


Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats is a 95-page compilation book with a 2 CD-disc that has taken two previous books, Drum Lessons with the Greats (1992), and combined them into this one book.

In the book, Dave Weckl demonstrates great-sounding triplet hand and foot combinations, his trademark six-stroke fills, and to work with double strokes on the drumset. Steve Smith offers an in-depth three-part lesson on developing great linear fills. Kenny Aronoff lays out an intense series of rock-solid hand and foot exercises. Gregg Bissonette offers a lesson on how to develop fill patterns, shares one of his favorite sticking patterns, and demonstrates some of great sounding reggae grooves. Peter Erskine takes you on a journey about sound and feel, showing you how to develop a theme and how to play some very hip subdivisions. Neil Peart delivers lessons on developing fills, creating drum parts, and soloing in 3/4 time. Tim Alexander presents an alternative approach to playing double bass, creative ways to play the hi-hat, and teaches a lesson on developing tom grooves. Finally, Mike Portnoy gives you an in-depth five-part look at odd time signatures.

If you've seen any of these drummers past videos (VHS) from several decades ago, you'll recognize a lot of the material in Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats. That's not necessarily a bad thing as all of the lesson material found in this book/CD package is fantastic. I just feel it's important to note that much of this material is not new — just repackaged.

Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats is well organized; the musical engraving is accurate, easy to read, and the two supplimental CD audio discs are well recorded ... and of course, well performed by each celebrity drummer.

I highly recommend this educational package for drum students of all levels, as well as drum teachers and percussion instructors — especially to those who have not experienced Tim Alexander, Kenny Aronoff, Gregg Bissonette, Peter Erskine, Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Steve Smith, or Dave Weckl's materials in the past.