DVD Review: Snare Drum Basics

by Omar on October 12, 2008

in DVD Review

Greetings! Today we’ll be reviewing the instructional DVD called “Snare Drum Basics,” published by Hudson Music.

Now before I begin, I just want to mention that I’m sure (or pretty sure) that this DVD, and subsequently others that I review afterwards, may have already been reviewed at some time or other in one or more of the various drumming publications that exist. My intention is not to rehash what has already been said. My goal is to give you my point of view and maybe present some details that my not have been written before. Everyone has an opinion, right? Well, this one’s mine! Enjoy, and I hope you find it beneficial.

Back to the lecture at hand! “Snare Drum Basics” is narrated by Bob Breithaupt. As of the production of the DVD, he was the “Professor of Music, Chairman of Jazz Studies/Music Industry and director of the noted percussion program at Capital University in Columbus, OH.” Put simply, this guy knows his stuff! His knowledge was on display throughout the 30 minutes or so of playing time.

Bob emphasized that the techniques learned from snare drum basics can be carried over to the rest of the drum kit, making the snare drum the foundation of the kit. I totally agree with this statement, as I’m sure most if not all in the industry do. And that’s the beauty of the DVD. This is a great beginning DVD because you’re started off on what you need to start on: the snare drum.

As far as practicing goes, the host does not get into detail as far as how to practice, but presents the topics to the viewer, and lets the viewer decide what to dedicate most of their time to. This is a reasonable approach since the DVD is to appeal to all audiences – everyone’s different, at a different developmental stage, and each drummer individually can glean whatever they need, and go from there.

Various topics are covered relevant to snare drum basics, including:

  • Grips
  • Basic strokes
  • Dynamics
  • Rudiments

The host goes on to demonstrate various aspects of the above, as well as the right and wrong ways to go about them. Some points of interest that the host mentions:

  • Holding the sticks in a natural way, regardless of grip
  • Even hand development
  • Employing accents
  • The Moeller System
  • Phrasing
  • Rudiment examples
  • Specialty sounds

There’s more of course, but the instruction given is well explained and easy to understand. Practicing the suggestions should make us better players by reminding us of the basics, and how we can expand those basics to cover the rest of the kit. Now about the host’s delivery…

I was waiting for the host to smile, to have a little fun in his presentation, but there was none to be had! I’m sure he likes drumming, and I would listen to anything he has to say in regards to drumming, but the presentation was a little bit stiff and academic, bordering on a little boring. Don’t get me wrong! This is a must-have DVD, especially for the beginner and intermediate drummer. I always advocate having fun, even if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it didn’t look like the host was having fun. I was looking for the smile, and looking, and oh yes, I found it! On the back cover of the DVD (nice picture)!

Minor point there. I give this DVD seven out of ten paradiddles, since it covers a most important aspect of drumming. Get the snare right, and the rest will follow. I’d give it more paradiddles but for a little more enthusiasm.

That's my take. If you’ve seen it, tell us what you think!

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