Reading the Dots... Your Way to Drumming Success
Steve Laffy

I look back over my 30-year career as a professional drummer – as a drumming coach, lecturer, book author and as a musician who has played and toured with many different artists in many different countries, playing on radio and performing on television, I can reflect on how I achieved all of the skills and knowledge I needed for my career to endure as long as it has.

Learning to read music was one of the major factors that has enabled me to achieve everything that I have worked for throughout my career as a drummer. I was in my early twenties when I decided on a career in music and that I wanted to become a professional drummer, but I didn’t know how to go about establishing this. I always wanted to create a way of playing drums in my own style and I knew that I didn’t want to be taught by one single teacher or in one particular style. I played drums for a number of years without reading, but I felt something was lacking from my knowledge of playing. I decided to teach myself to read drum music, and through determination and over a period of time, it became a fundamental part of my musical development as it enabled me to gather a wealth of knowledge on the rudiments and different styles of drumming which then helped me to create my own way of playing.

Learning to read music is a major leap forward in any drummer’s developmental process. It opens the door to another level of understanding, and makes available to you the wealth of material on drumming techniques and styles. It brings to you the opportunities and a depth of knowledge that you may not be able to access any other way.

I believe that learning to read music is a valuable asset to anyone considering a career in drumming, as it broadens work opportunities such as playing sessions, theatre work, and performances that involve written drum charts. Being able to write your own drum charts from CDs and at rehearsals also means that you are able to handle the large amounts of musical material, whilst working with various different bands, which freelance musicians must be able to do these days.

Regardless of what styles of music you like to play, being able to read will bring many benefits to your playing experience and your professional development. It will also make your learning process easier, more interesting and fulfilling.

For these many reasons, and after 25 years of teaching others to play the drums, I have developed an easy and clear method of reading drum notation that really works. I want to share this experience with other drummers and I specifically wrote my two drum books for this reason.

For beginners and those who are new to reading:
Book One – “The Really Easy Way to Play the Drums”         (ISBN 0-9544928-0-3)

and for intermediate players:
Book Two – “The Easy Way to Advance Your Drumming”   (ISBN 0-9544928-1-1).

Both books are available by post, directly from me at - where sample pages from drum books can also be downloaded.

Reading drum notation opens a world of exciting material and interest. It will challenge and inspire you. It will give a sense of direction and purpose and a great sense of achievement as you discover that you can do it… and you can!

Steve Laffy - August 2006


Steve Laffy’s Employment

As a freelance musician I have performed with artists such as William Bell, Zoot Money, Danial O’ Donnell, The Diplomats, Womack and Womack, The Foundations, Thunderclap Newman and many other artists at venues in the UK and abroad, including tours of Italy, France, Germany, Holland, and Ireland. I have performed at Glastonbury Festival, Womad Festival, Notting Hill Carnival, top UK hotels and venues. I have worked on local and national television and radio, recording sessions and theatre shows etc.

As well as my freelance work I am currently working in the UK with Zoot Money and other bands and have my own Latin/Funk band called Rhythm Rising. In 2006 I have a UK tour with Thunderclap Newman and will visit Mexico and Japan with the UK progressive rock band called England.

Aside from the above performing I also work as a Lecturer, drumming workshop facilitator and private drumming coach, and I am working on material for further tuition books and DVDs.