Book Reviews
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The Couch Potato Workout

Alfred Music Publishing, in partnership with the National Guitar Workshop, is proud to announce the release of The Couch Potato Drum Workout, the fun, straightforward, no-frills approach to building drum technique while relaxing on the couch.

Perfect for drummers of all levels and styles, The Couch Potato Drum Workout introduces a unique way to develop power, speed, and endurance by pairing relaxation time with efficient and productive lessons. Exercises include paradiddles, single strokes, multiple strokes, flams, accents, triplets, and much more. The book also includes tips for practicing in front of the TV, as well as one-handed exercises so changing the channel doesn’t interfere.

Author Pete Sweeney introduces the book with tips on practice posture, hand technique, basic terminology, and drum notation. Detailed explanations throughout the lessons in the book make it easy to self-teach. Helpful diagrams and photos depict proper technique, and offer creative ways to practice on the couch.

The National Guitar Workshop is dedicated to bringing the best in music education to guitarists, bassists, keyboardists, drummers, and vocalists regardless of style of music or level of ability. Their highly developed courses and supportive learning environment foster meaningful experiences through music education.

As part of Alfred’s ongoing commitment to improving the environment, this songbook is printed on 100% recycled paper.

The Couch Potato Drum Workout  is now available for $9.99 at music retail stores or online today through the Drummer Cafe!

REVIEW

The Couch Potato Drum Workout, by Pete Sweeney, is a 47-page book designed to provide the drummer with many exercises and ideas for practicing while watching TV.

The book begins with an introduction which explains the fundamental items required to use this book; a pair of drumsticks (or brushes), a practice pad and stand, music stand, and a metronome. Practice posture is addressed (with photos), basic hand technique and grips, basic music terminology and note values, drumset notation and stickings. Several pages of warm-up exercises, making use of single and double strokes, is followed by "tips for practicing in front of the tv."

Accents are introduced with various paradiddle patterns, both duple and triplet based rhythms, as well as multiple-stroke exercises.

Sweeny introduces "the grid" — a system of practicing accents with a musical phrase or sticking pattern by shifting the emphasis (accent) along all of the sub-divisions of the beat. Straight sixteenth-notes and eighth-note triplets are the basis for what follows, substituting the accents with flams and diddles (thirty-second-note double strokes). Various other exercises touch on other applications such as the cheese hybrid rudiment, left-hand lead, and multiple accent combinations.

The last few pages of the book employs the foot (eg. Kick drum) by substituting various notes within hand patterns with the foot; single and double foot combinations.

Aside from the packaging and marketing of The Couch Potato Drum Workout, that is practicing while sitting in front of the television, I didn't find anything unique or special within its pages that makes the book standout from other well-established drum books such as Stick Control and Syncopation. Yes, the book's contents is accurate and there are some interesting tips to be found, but do we really need an entire book specifically about practicing the drums while in front of the TV?

I'm surprised at how this book goes from explaining grip and basic music notation to complex rhythmic figures and stickings. If someone doesn't know the difference between Matched and Traditional grip, or understand the fundamentals of music notation, should they really be using this book while watching TV? Why have a drumset notation key/legend when the book doesn't even deal with the drumset? How (or why) should I be reading the exercises in this book if I'm watching the TV? How does the metronome fit in with the sound of the television? Why require a music stand (or a substitute) to hold the book for reading purposes if I'm supposed to be watching the screen? Practice during the commercials only? Too many questions and not enough answers.

The Couch Potato Drum Workout, while an interesting concept, comes off 'half-baked' to my taste. If you are serious about practicing the art of drumming, turn the television off and focus on what you are doing. If you want to workout on the practice pad while sitting in front of the TV, fine — I've done that numerous times (when I'm home alone) — but do I really need a book dedicated to this endeavor? I don't ... but perhaps there are those that do.



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