Reading drum music isn't for everyone but it can help learning as you have a visual as well as an aural clue to what is happening. It is also useful for 'remembering' the content of the lesson and even building up a folio of week by week lessons to reference at any time. Some people prefer to learn just by ear and it's ok by us if anyone has problems with notes on a page.
For those students who prefer to read drum music We use the 'Rockschool' and the 'Trinity/Guildhall' syllabuses. Both syllabuses provide CD's to play along to with their graded books. It's possible to take graded exams in both these routes. The grades go from grades 1 (beginner) to 8 (expert) and as well as having drum kit pieces with a CD backing the syllabuses offer technical exercises and rudiments to help develop technique.
As soon as you get to grips with some basics we can start to listen to your favourite drummers and try to learn some of the track they played on. This is at the recommendation of the tutor as some drummers have technical skills much greater than the student would have. However not all rock/pop songs are difficult for the beginner to play.
We try to create an individual route for every student. Brian regularly writes pieces specifically to help an individual drummer overcome a problem or learn a technique. We can also be flexible and adapt the teaching techniques. For example, mixing the 'reading music' approach with 'copying favourite bands'.