The beginning drummer should start with the sample page, then 1.1 and work his or her way up to 9.20. Not by going horizontally or vertically, but in more of a diagonal way. Once enough progress has been made, it will become more of a vertical movement because all of the chapters will be dealt with per paragraph. When level 1 is used by intermediate or advanced players it should be used per paragraph in one session so any inconsistencies if present will appear automatically. It goes without saying that these should then be worked on separately.
The student should be able to play a little bit of each chapter as soon as possible. Preferably each session. This way he or she becomes very familiar with the similarities and differences as soon as possible, and will become very rhythmically flexible. In this regard it should be noted that exercise 4 from G1.1 can be easily converted into any groove from G2.1, G3.1 al the way up to G9.1. (The exception here is G6 which has a slightly different kind of structure based on BB4 per 3/16 notes. So this may not always be the most logical transition). A very good exercise to examine the student’s grasp on differences and similarities between the chapters is pick a paragraph and exercise number in G1 and let them come up with possible grooves in other chapters without showing them. This process can of course be reversed as well where we could start from any other chapter and move it backwards.
Intermediate and advanced drummers
For the intermediate and advanced drummers “Master exercises” should be used. As explained in the book I’ve blatantly stolen this phrase from Gavin Harrison and it basically means combining exercises to create longer, more difficult exercises. The most practical way to do this would be to play every exercise 4 times and without stopping go to the next untill there are no more. In most cases there are 16 exercises per page so this means we have to play 64 bars without stopping. Do all of this to a click and it will be a great exercise in tempo and timing as well.
Then it’s about combining paragraphs. For instance take a LF pattern from paragraph 17 and combine that with a RH ostinato from paragraph 10 or 11 and play every other paragraph (Grooves and Fills) on top of this with the RF and LH. It’s great fun to play these to the suggested Audio or Midi tracks as well. If you can comfortably play all of these options, you’ve reached a level of great proficiency. Btw, being able to play something confortably means playing it well enough so you could easily pull it off while doing a big break audition, or a session for a major artist in a major studio with a major hourly rate.
Encyclopedia for musicians at any level
Parts C and S should serve any musician rhythmically for the rest of their lives. The purpose of these parts is to be a source of information and an unlimited source of inspiration. This is where you can really check your grasp on rhythmic theory as a beginner, boost your creativity as an intermediate, and multiply your vocabulary as an advanced player. This is the CORE of Level 1 and in fact the CORE of our rhythmic foundation which once internalized will serve us a lifetime.