Our Favorite Percussion Method Books

We named this blog the Total Percussionist for a reason. Our founding philosophy is that all students should be well rounded percussionists, proficient on every instrument in the percussion family.

In this post, we will show you our favorite method books that contain appropriate material for beginning middle school all the way through late high school percussionists.



Fundamental Method for Mallets – Mitchell Peters

This curriculum assembled by Mitchell Peters (LA Philharmonic) covers playing technique for every major mallet instrument in the percussion family.

Here are the biggest benefits to this method:

  • Covers all basic techniques, including an in depth look at 4 mallet grips
  • Etudes in every key and time signature.
  • Exercises geared for beginners to high school level.



Fundamental Studies for Snare Drum – Garwood Whaley

This old standard starts slow for beginners, but becomes challenging for experienced players towards the end of the book.

  • Many duets throughout the book. Great for a beginning percussion class
  • Many etudes are in uncommon time signatures: 5/4, 5/8, 9/8, 12/16



Fundamental Method for Timpani – Mitchell Peters

We like this book because of the emphasis it places on ear training. The hardest skill for beginners is internalizing pitch center and memorizing intervals.

  • Excellent ear training exercises
  • Thoroughly covers basic and advanced techniques
  • Includes advanced etudes as well as exercises suitable for beginners



A Funky Primer for the Rock Drummer – Charles Dowd

The basic rock beat is the staple for many beginning percussionists. This book takes the basic rock rhythm and runs through a spree of syncopated rhythms that is mentally and physically challenging for all percussionists.

  • A barrage of exercises for training the hands and feet to be independent of one another.
  • Extensive rhythmic vocabulary throughout the book.

If you have any other favorite books that you’ve had real world success with, please let us know in our comments or our Facebook page!

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