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Andy Ziker: Drum Aerobics

Drum Aerobics is a 52-week, one-exercise-per-day workout program for developing, improving, and maintaining drum technique.

Players of all levels — beginner to advanced — will increase their speed, coordination, dexterity and accuracy. The two CDs contain all 365 workout licks, plus play-along grooves in styles including rock, blues, jazz, heavy metal, reggae, funk, calypso, bossa nova, march, mambo, New Orleans 2nd Line, and lots more!

 

REVIEW

Drum Aerobics is a 120-page book with two supplemental CDs; written by Andy Ziker and published by Hal Leonard.

The book is divided into two main sections. Audio examples for each of the 365 workout figures is found on disc 1; disc 2 contains 25 music-minus-drums, play-along tracks in an assortment of music styles and genres.

In Part One, Drumming Health, the physiology of drumming is explained. This includes the differences between anaerobic and aerobic exercise, plus a workout routine involving stretching, low impact yoga and rehab exercises, all meant to warm-up the body and prevent injury. Pictures and short descriptions are provided for each of the floor and standing exercises, making it easy for even the most novice exerciser to follow along.

Part Two, Routine, Workouts, and Making Connections, beginning on page 11, represents the girth of the book. After a brief explanation as to the process and benefits of a daily routine, the book launches into 365 practice/performance workout exercises on the drumset; one exercise per day, 7-days a week for 52-weeks.

The book is laid out in such a way that when you open to a particular week, you see all seven workout exercises for that given week. Each workout exercise is numbered and labeled, with Monday being viewed as the first day of the week. Besides a description and practice tip, each exercise is also labeled with Type (Coordination, Groove, Solo/Fill, or Drumnastic), Genre it most relates to (eg. Rock, Jazz, multiple, etc.), the bpm (beats per minute) tempo range for the exercise, the track and time on CD1 where an audio example for the exercise can be found, and list of suggested play-along tracks from CD2 that work well with the given exercise.

As I already mentioned, the exercises themselves vary between four types; a coordination exercise, a drum beat or groove, a solo figure or drum fill, and drumnastics — slick licks (aka pyrotechnics) that can be used, for example, at the end of the song as a quasi-solo figure. Notation values range from quarter-notes to 32nd-notes, in both duple and triple rhythms. While the majority of the exercises are written in 4/4 (Common Time), there are a few additional time signatures included, such as 3/4, several compound meters (ie. 6/8, 9/8), and a few odd-time signatures (eg. 5/4, 7/8).


PROS

Without a doubt, the organization and thoroughness of each daily exercise makes this a huge asset to drummers of all levels, beginners to advanced. Drum Aerobics is an all-in-one package, a complete routine for a solid year of study and growth in numerous styles and coordinations.

The audio discs with performance examples of each exercise as well as practical applications via the play-along tracks is a huge plus.


CONS

These aren't deal breakers by any means, but I do feel like I need to mention them. The book is written with a 5-pc drumkit in mind, although I believe a 4-pc drumkit notation, that is two Tom Toms instead of three, would have been more of a universal approach. Favoring the least common denominator (4-pc kit users) would make this book more accessible and easier to use without sacrificing any of the book's benefits.

The audio examples of each exercise are only performed once through, even when a repeat is notated. I believe a cleaner performance of each exercise, played several times, would prove to be an even greater value. I would have also liked to have heard the play-along tracks without a click track throughout.


Drum Aerobics will make a nice addition to any drummers music library and practice regimen. Regardless of your playing level, there's something to be gleaned by all. Individuals who lack self-motivation, are self-taught, or who are without a private instructor/mentor will especially benefit from this book — with it's organized daily routines and goal setting structure.

As an added bonus, Andy Ziker has provided close to 30 video performance examples of the Drum Aerobics play-along tracks on his YouTube channel.



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