Grades start from Preliminary and move through to Fellowship Performer Diploma. There are six main sections covered in the syllabus:
1. Technical Work: the drummer's "scales"; rudiments and snare drum studies designed to improve technique and control.
2. Style and Genre: contrasting pieces to be played showing the candidate's facility with the instrument. From Grade Two, candidates have the option to write original pieces for the drums if they wish. This is designed to encourage originality, discipline and flair.
3. Sight Reading: to foster and promote strong reading skills.
4. Listening Tests: clapping, tapping and recognition of beats, rhythms and time signatures.
5. General Knowledge: an understanding of the history and development of the drumset, and an awareness of the rhythms and music genres of the world.The aim of the syllabus is to foster a "grass roots" understanding of the disciplines of the drumset, and to provide the student and teacher alike with a focus for drumset studies. 6. Improvisation: Being able to create a solo/groove within any style of music and within given parameters (for example: trading 4's in jazz or 32 bar solo or over a given ostinato).
Factoring in original pieces at Grade Two level onwards address any concerns raised re "production line teaching methods".
I met Dom Famularo at the 1996 Ultimate Drummer's Day, where we were both performing and showed him the books. He now endorses the syllabus ......... for no fee.
This is what he said about the syllabus ........."I finally had a chance to go through your drumset manual. This is excellent! The information is clear and very well laid out. This is a great teaching curriculum for any instructor worldwide. I am also very impressed with the Cultural Arts Drumset Syllabus you had written. This is complete and succinct! I wish I had this when I was younger first learning how to play the instrument! You should be very proud of this! I would highly endorse the syllabus and the drumset manual .... it is precisely the educational tools like this that will bring modern drumset playing into the next century!"