Reviews for The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll

“A good concert snare drum roll is like money in the bank. As the instrument’s only true means of sustained note length, the attention given to perfecting the roll is often the difference between a player who is good and one who is outstanding. Although the concert roll is one of the techniques most often associated with the snare drum, relatively few texts have truly addressed both the specific practice material and hand techniques needed to produce a professional quality concert roll. William J. James, Principal Percussionist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, has filled this void with a resource that should be considered invaluable to both students and teachers of the concert snare drum. The content of the book is laid out in a manner that is clear, sequential, and easy to understand. Topics include basic principles of the roll, building your sound, metered vs. unmetered rolls, soft playing, and developing endurance. James teaches an arm-based technique similar to that popularized by Alan Abel, and discusses how to transition between writs (non-roll) strokes and those using the arms. Much discussion is also given to deciding what type of roll pulsation to use based on tempo, dynamic, and style. Supplemental material and videos are also available on the author’s personal website. I believe this book will produce undeniable results in any player who seriously undertakes its lessons, and therefore it should be included among Stick Control, Accents and Rebounds, and Wrist Twisters as an indispensable contribution to the teaching of our instrument.”
Jason Baker—Percussion Notes Magazine, September 2014

“This excellent book, written by the principal percussionist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, thoroughly examines every aspect of snare drum rolls. The book opens with a brief explanation of the man ways rolls can be notated and what they mean, followed by sections on anatomy, grip, and drum height. Plenty of diagrams and photos from many angles are included; two particularly noteworthy photo sets are on how to stand in proper playing position without sticks and front to side photos captured while a percussionist played rolls with both traditional and matched grips. Playing information covers arms, wrist, and fingers, and includes easy-to-follow steps, focus points, and observations. The majority of the book consists of exercises divided into sections covering one stroke, alternating strokes, developing the sound, releases, alternating between single stokes and a roll, metered and unmetered rolls, dynamics, and advanced exercises. There are 403 exercises, interspersed with reminders to check arm, wrist, and hand movements, as well as occasional troubleshooting notes. This book is highly recommended for teachers and performers at all levels.”
Instrumentalist Magazine, September 2014

“This book is an important resource in developing, maintaining, and improving what is both one of the most basic and yet continually difficult things percussionists do on the snare drum…that is, playing a beautiful roll from the top of the dynamic range to the bottom. The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll is a great addition to my personal collection and teaching library.”
James Ross—Percussionist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Adjunct Professor of Percussion, Northwestern University

“Will James has taken the mystery and confusion out of one of the most important aspects of snare drum playing – THE ROLL! Through Will’s detailed explanation and outstanding photos, every component of the roll is addressed, described and expounded upon. The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll is an absolute necessity for any percussionist, at any level!”
Keith Aleo—Percussion Instructor Boston Conservatory, University of Connecticut, & Interlochen Arts Academy; Director of Education and Orchestral Activities, Zildjian Cymbal Company

“This book provides all of the photos, exercises and specific technical descriptions one could possibly need to develop a great snare drum roll (no small feat). Bravo to Will for making it all accessible within a single publication!”
Chris Deviney—Principal Percussionist, Philadelphia Orchestra; Temple University, Adjunct Professor

“The snare drum roll is one of the most difficult techniques to master for percussion students. The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll by William James breaks down this essential skill in a way that’s both easy to understand and fun to work on. I highly recommend this book for any percussionist looking to improve their roll!”
Christopher McLaurin—Principal Percussionist, Kansas City Symphony; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Percussion, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance

“Will James has completely hit the mark with this method of instruction about the concert snare roll. Too many books give you technical exercises, but neglect the physiological instruction on implementing the roll. This method book merges both technical exercises along with concise descriptive detail into one complete package.”
Kim Shelley—Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Specialist, Clayton High School

“Will’s book, dedicated to concert snare drum development, is long awaited. Developing a great concert snare drum roll is essential for the classical percussionist. Will’s approach is thorough, detailed, and clear as he walks the reader through his exercises and examples. It will help the performer execute a great sounding snare drum roll with ease and finesse.”
Shannon Wood—Principal Timpanist, Saint Louis Symphony

What Students Are Saying

“I always followed these rules/guidelines but I never knew why until now.”

“I like how the book always adds new techniques and at the same time revisits others so that you don’t forget.”