Quick Drum Sketches




Learning to read music is probably a drummer’s “least” favorite endeavour. But it really comes in handy when learning new material OR recalling something you’ve not played in a while. This recently happened to me on a Paul Baloche music video shoot. I’m grateful for the music teachers and other drummers that have helped me develop this skill. I can read transcribed parts, band lead sheets, or even the simple song road map when needed. Even if you have played a while, start learning or refining this valuable skill and you will find it an incredible asset to your musicianship.


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About Carl

Carl has been a professional drummer & percussionist for over 30 years. He has played on over 80 Integrity Music projects; Maranatha Praise Band recordings 7 thru 10, & numerous other Christian, Pop, Country, Jazz, & Commercial projects.


  1. Thanks for the reminder Carl. Sight reading doesn’t agree with me, is a softer way of saying I don’t have the discipline to read the notes when I play the flute. I would rather close my eyes even if I play the song for the first time. Forgive my ignorance, but following the notesheet takes away the”feeling”. You and a thousand other true musicians are right of course. I just wonder how the musicians, like the levites did it when Christ walked the earth?

    • Hey David, I understand… but actually the more you read music it becomes very 2nd nature, just like any other skill, it takes time for it sink in…. The levites were actually always in training… the scriptures say ….” the (the Levites) were skilled AND trained in music for the Lord…// both teachers & students casting lots for their duties….”” I Chron. 25:6-8. There are more,,, but that’s an encouraging word to me (AND all of us)… it’s a journey. Bless the journey, and walk it well my friend. Peace, Carl

  2. Mike Walker says

    I totally agree, Carl. As drummers, we tend to want to “feel” where we are in the music but sometimes that isn’t easy. For example, this past Sunday we did “Who am I” by Casting Crowns before the church service started. Now, on the cd the instrumental section sounds really cool and easy, then you sit down to play it and it is totally different. I got a copy of the vocal music and I saw why! The meters in this section go from 5/4 to cut time to 3/4 to 4/4 to 2/4. It is all over the place! Now I must admit I am a little rusty and I told one of our keyboard players that when I was in college and doing this everyday I could pull it off a lot faster but that was almost 20 years ago so it took a little longer. On top of the meter changes it was syncopated so that added another challenge! But if you aren’t afraid of challenges you are in good shape. It took some practice but we muddled our way through it and we ended in the same place so I guess we did alright.:) I firmly believe that if you want to keep going as a musician/drummer you HAVE to be proficient to some degree on reading music. It also helps to be able to play more than just your drums. I am not that good at it but I can play a little piano so it definitely helps.


  3. lydia hendrickson says

    You’re so cute uncle Carl!!! Have fun!!! 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks Lydia.. nice of you to say that about your Uncle. — Prayin’ for all your adventures with Jesus in Redding & around the world. “Keep your hand to the plow, girl! ” Love, Unc. C. & Aunt Leann too, of course. 🙂

  4. I have hundreds of “groove cheat sheets” just like this. Sometimes they are hand written and sometimes when I have time I use Finale to notate them. I would love to get them all into my computer “digitally” so I can just call them as needed. I know there are software packages that do this but right now we are setting up in a school so more “stuff” to setup is not always good.
    Thanks Carl,

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