In “Jost Nickel’s Snare Book”, Jost explores rudimental work and snare drum based exercises to improve your hand technique and independence. In the intro of his book, Jost promises us exercises and an approach to rudiments that will make us WANT to practise rather than feel OBLIGED to, and I must say the slightly unconventional lay out and the relevance of the content does not disappoint.
This book consists in two big parts: the warm ups and the “systematic approaches” of rudiments. The warm up part offers a series of exercises featuring the most commonly used rudiments for kit players under the form of easy to read warm ups. The second part is a set of exercises featuring the previously mentioned rudiments using different subdivisions, groupings etc…
The book has a very easy to read notation that makes it available to players with basic music reading skills. The concepts treated in the book start from basic rudimental work to improve each of the important rudiments that every drummer should have in their pocket at all time. Then they work up to offering an advanced application of those rudiments going from groupings, accents, odd time signatures, and subdivisions which would challenge any drummer, no matter how advanced they are. Another great feature of this book is the insert book which includes many rhythmical ideas that you can apply to any exercises you are currently working.
However, despite the accessibility of this book for basic readers, I would not advise it for beginner players. While notation and rudiments are briefly explained on the first chapter, they only feature a very brief explanation of each exercise. As much as it makes the whole lay out way lighter and efficient for advanced players, you would then require a rather good knowledge of hand technique and rudimental work in order to have the full potential of this book. I would therefore only advise this book to intermediate and advanced players.
While the content of this book is well laid out and complete, I was craving a chapter with tips on how to apply these exercises onto the drum kit at the end of the book featuring Jost’s talent of orchestration around the kit. Maybe an idea for a future book?
I believe this book is a must-have to all players willing to discover new challenging ways to incorporate rudiments into their playing while staying relevant. Most of ideas covered in this book, while being technically ‘out of the box’ ideas, can be used in most popular music without being too much “out there”. Every page is worth exploring!