Full Review

Summary

Rating: 81.5/100. Although it lacks advanced material, Learn & Master Drums will help beginner and intermediate drummers feel more comfortable around the kit.

You probably won’t “master” the drums after completing this course, but you will certainly “learn” quite a bit for the price.

Pros

– Great overview of drumming
– Excellent packaging/materials
– High production quality
– Lifetime access for one price
– Forum support is helpful
– Well organized and easy to follow
– Very fair price for amount of content

Cons

– Lacks material and examples beyond intermediate level
– Basic pattern demo segments can feel long & uninspired
– May not be as convenient as online drum lessons (shipping, lesson navigation, portability, etc.)

Lesson Format

Each lesson starts with a warm welcome from Dann and an introduction to the topic of that session.

He will then move through a series of 10-15 exercises in the course of a 30-60 minutes. As you might expect, some exercises are short, some are long, some are wide, some are narrow, musical, technical, heavy, light, slow, fast… but nothing really stands out.

Don’t get me wrong, everything is legit and solid playing from Dann, but some of the lessons could do a lot more with the visual format instead of playing slow simple exercises on a practice pad for far longer than is necessary.

Note: This only applies to some of the sessions.

I understand that they were going for a consistent approach for all of the material, but I would have preferred much more concision on those segments where the examples are easily understood through sheet music. In my view, the real value of video is to show different camera angles and musical examples of how these simple patterns can be applied.

Instructors/Styles

Dann Sherrill has the kind of warm and encouraging personality that you would like to see in an instructor, especially as a beginner. He is based in Nashville, Tennessee and specializes in Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussion, though he is also quite versatile as a studio drummer. If you would like to know more, here is his full bio.

Learn & Master Drums aims to give beginners and intermediate players a solid foundation and explanation of all fundamentals and musical styles.

I’ve gone through all of these lessons and Dann does an excellent job of explaining the concepts and styles, both technically and musically.

The sessions are 35-55 minutes each, though you should consider them equivalent to 60-90 minutes of live instruction given that you would ordinarily spend lesson time playing for the instructor and getting comments.

The first 12 sessions will build your technique and musical understanding with each session building on the previous one, so it is important to complete them in order. After you’ve gone through the first 12, you can feel free to pick and choose among the last 10 to focus on the topics that interest you the most.

Depending on your skill level and the complexity of the session, you will need to spend at least 30 minutes a day for 1-2 weeks on each session before moving on to the next one. And it is probably a good idea to review the video once toward the end of the 2 weeks, just to make sure you caught everything.

Tools/Resources

The Learn & Master Drums system includes four types of resources: DVD lessons, play-along CDs, the lesson book, and an online discussion forum.

Everything is pretty self-explanatory here, I just want to clarify that the play-along CDs don’t come with any sheet music or real introduction. They are just 5 CDs of songs in various genres to give you an opportunity to groove and fill with other musicians.

They are certainly useful for applying the exercises and techniques in a more musical context and each song comes with and without click tracks.

Though, it seems a little strange to include these songs without any real introduction or commentary to connect them to the DVD lessons. I guess the publisher felt that the value of integrating the musical examples more tightly didn’t merit the production expense.

Anyway, they are still quite useful, I just think they could have done more to educate young drummers on how to apply the lessons in context.

Is Learn & Master Drums for You?

Really, this question depends on your budget and skill level. If you really prefer not to spend any more than you have to and you’re checking out drums for the first time, then Learn & Master Drums will certainly meet your needs, and has enough quality content to help you become a great drummer.

If you’re looking for advanced material, it’s important to note that L&M claims to offer advanced content, but most of what counts for advanced material is just speeding up fundamental patterns. Dann Sherrill is certainly a very advanced drummer, but this course lacks interesting examples of how and why to apply the patterns and ideas in different musical contexts.

Either way, I would recommend comparing all of the top 5 drum lessons I’ve reviewed side-by-side to be sure you’re getting exactly what you want.

Conclusion to my Learn & Master Drums Review

Overall, Learn and Master Drums is a fantastic course for beginner and intermediate drummers at a great price.

I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a DVD, CD & Workbook course that helps to lay a solid foundation while saving money on private lessons.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Learn & Master Drums and that you now have a better idea of whether it’s right for you.