John Colpitts’s “Drumset = You” is a fun read. Having grown up with so many of these drum set method books, I admire his dedication to the small amounts of written text contained within them. Growing up, of course, I rarely read this material, having been in middle school and being very anxious to get to the playing music part.
I’m a mostly untrained drummer. I’ve taken lessons for brief periods, but until recently I’d missed out on that most essential component of drum pedagogy: the method book. In my efforts to improve, I’ve been drawn to the introductions of these books, which feature efficient, often dull language—and in which, occasionally, the eccentricities of the authors shine through in remarkable ways. In the last few months, I’ve become obsessed with gleaning hints about drummers’ personalities from these books, far too many of which, perhaps unsurprisingly, have been written by men. Lost in the hinterland between art and technique, their introductions tend to exhibit grouchiness, pretension, narcissism, penury, New Age quirkiness, and sometimes even wisdom. What follows is a survey of some of the more striking entries.