When it rains, it pours. Although I have just released my Art of Beating the Drum updated edition, forces have aligned such that the next publication is already on the way. I am pleased to announce that I have partnered with experienced band director and percussion teacher Robert W. Miller on a book called Subdivide and Conquer.
This new book will be released on Hudson Music in September 2021, with paperback copies hopefully available earlier.
Unlike any of my other books, Subdivide and Conquer is not JUST a drum method, though it does contain a beginning snare drum primer section. The majority of the book is intended to enable rhythmic reading and the development of solid independent counting for individuals AND/OR ensembles of any size. It will be equally useful for private percussion teachers, teachers of winds, strings, or voice, and directors of ensembles including band, choir, orchestra, percussion ensemble, or any other educational musical group.
As odd as this may seem, the flexibility stems from the fact that the book contains only rhythmic information that can be clapped, counted aloud, or played on any instrument to facilitate reading and accurate counting. It not only has rhythms for practice, it actually teaches users HOW to count.
Unlike most other books on the market, Subdivide and Conquer uses counting syllables (numbers and other standard counting devices “1e+a”) to measure the distance between longer notes, as well as label smaller ones. Most other reading and rhythm books fail to do this. As the name suggests, Miller and I are not just teaching how to count numbers, but how to SUBDIVIDE rhythms such that duration and placement within a musical measure is correct, consistent, and repeatable.
Players who know and use subdivision are able to more accurately sight read, play more difficult rhythms, and learn new rhythmic material faster. This is a foundational skill for literally any instrument or voice type. It doesn’t matter if you can play all the notes if they are not in time. Subdivision is a key that opens the door to easily playing rhythms so easily that pitch, intonation, phrasing, technique, posture, etc. can be at the forefront of any practice session. The rhythms will be locked in and correct because they are so obvious.
This book was developed specifically with educational ensembles in mind by myself, a percussion teacher and drum line instructor, and a career band director, Robert Miller, with decades of experience teaching young wind bands. He has used this method with his students successfully and he has shared it with many of his teaching colleagues who have found similar success. Using this book with a band, orchestra, choir, or other ensemble will eliminate guesswork, imitation, and confusion over rhythmic reading, so you can focus on playing music. Bonus: it will teach any percussionists in your ensemble to play snare drum synchronously. The snare exercises match the rest of the book, but with percussion specific information!
Whether you are a student looking to enhance your rhythm reading and counting ability, a private teacher hoping to do the same for your students, or an ensemble director trying to enhance the sound of many players at once, Subdivide and Conquer is the book for you!
Release details should be coming along shortly.