Syncopation Companion

by Bryan Bowman

Bryan Bowman's book is a beautifully useful tool. I am looking forward to utilizing it with my students as well as on my own practice pad.”
— Peter Erskine

  • Syncopation Companion is a unique investigation of Ted Reed's Syncopation. It seeks to recast and reinterpret familiar 8th note rhythmic figures (using half-time 4/4, 8th note triplet, 6/4, and 12/8 interpretations) to expand the possibilities hidden within this legendary sight-reading textbook.
  • This is an integrated approach to rudimental drumming, which involves learning specific sticking formulas and rhythmic treatments of a four-bar phrase, and then activating them by sight-reading through numerous rhythmic etudes in Syncopation.
  • We explore many ways Syncopation can be applied to the drum set within the context of Jazz, Afro Cuban, and Brazilian styles.
  • We do an extensive study of jazz comping possibilities inspired by famous drummers such as Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Roy Haynes, and many others.
  • This book is a launching pad for fun and creative exploration for intermediate to advanced students who are ready to read between the lines of syncopated rhythmic figures.
  • Syncopation Companion is a must-have book for those who seek to improve their rudimental technique, sight-reading, and four-way coordination on the drumset.
  • Spiral-bound, 172 pages.

Videos for Syncopation Companion

IMPORTANT - You must also own Ted Reed's Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer to make full use of this book.


My course of study as an aspiring drummer did not include working out of Ted Reed's Syncopation book, much to my regret in later years. My sense of having missed out on some essential training was somewhat offset by my mistrust or misunderstanding of the Reed book and its intended goals. Bryan Bowman's revisit and expansion on the topics of syncopation and rudimental drumming bridges the gap for me, as I'm sure it will for many other drummers — as well as providing a beautifully useful tool for students of the Reed, Dawson and Wilcoxin methods and etudes. I am looking forward to utilizing this book with my students as well as on my own practice pad.”
— Peter Erskine

A wonderful addition to the world of drum set pedagogy, extending the great work of jazz education pioneer Alan Dawson's methods with Ted Reed's Syncopation. Indeed, a rich legacy to stand upon. I am most impressed by the logical progression from Chapter 1 through Chapter 12 and the inclusion of concepts applicable to various styles, including Jazz, Rock, Funk, Brazilian, and Afro Cuban genres. The technical exploration presented in Syncopation Companion will surely extend the hand and four-way technique of the intermediate-advanced drummer, making it an excellent resource for drum set and percussion teachers alike, who are looking to challenge their students' overall musical development.”
— Yoron Israel, Chair and Professor of Percussion, Berklee College of Music

Bryan's book is an excellent source for those who are looking for interesting and engaging ideas based on the Syncopation book! All too often students (as well as their teachers) have a limited arsenal of ideas when it comes to the possibilities hidden in this widely-used textbook. I would recommend Bryan's Companion to the army of drummers out there who own Ted Reed's book but don't really know how to put it to full use!”
— Marko Djordjevic, Associate Professor, Percussion, Berklee College of Music

Bryan Bowman's book, Syncopation Companion, is a masterfully crafted, well-organized, learning tool for all drummers who are interested in moving forward on the instrument. The systems introduced in Bryan's book are perfect vehicles for musically incorporating rudiments into any drummer's vocabulary. The exercises can be challenging, but also very gratifying and fun! I started working out of Syncopation by Ted Reed when I was seven years old. I still work out of it today. I'm looking forward to digging into Syncopation Companion for many years to come!”
— David Rokeach, Drumset instructor at Stanford University. Drummer with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, etc.

I have done so many applications of Syncopation in my life. For many years I had an idea to come up with a book of all these applications. Well, I have to say, you have done it for me! In fact, you have surprised me with many applications. I think you have done a tremendous job and I would definitely recommend it to my students.”
— Mariano Steimberg, Assistant Professor of Drums, Berklee College, Valencia, Spain campus

As a drummer myself I've found Bowman's book hard to put down. It's brimming with great content for drummers of every genre. Bowman's idea of presenting a second stave above the exercise, highlighting just the accents is a noticeably nice touch to help grasp the accents added to various patterns. This also helps students not so proficient in reading rhythm develop their reading chops. He succeeds in what he sets out to do, namely help build strong technique, independence of limbs, reading and, above all, strong musicality. Drummers, go get this book.”
— The Jazz Journal

Bryan Bowman
Bryan Bowman is a jazz drummer, pianist and composer. Bryan studied composition and music performance at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, CSU Long Beach, CSU Chico and the Ali Akbar College of Music. He studied privately with Lew Langworthy, Dan Kinkle and Joe Hunt. He is currently a free lance performer and composer in the San Francisco Bay Area and an accompanist at the California Jazz Conservatory as well as performing with members of the CJC staff.