In a nutshell, I still love it. I use it almost every day, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for hours. I've had to work hard and progress has often been very slow, but once the penny has dropped it's been like flicking a switch. I've enjoyed going back over everything, either because I can do it better now or because I can do it EVEN better now. You get a special salute from me because you've managed to get me to enjoy flams and 4-stroke ruffs, both of which I had detested previously. The ruffs were one of the most difficult things I've ever done, by the way, with a commensurate feeling of achievement.
I'm up to paradiddle-diddles, which I'm finding tricky because of the amount of thinking involved and if you hadn't provided the key, I would be completely lost.
I've just seen that the next lesson but one is Swiss Triplets. That'll be fun. My absolute LEAST favourite rudiment!
What I like best overall about your book, Russ, is that it enables me to fix one thing at a time. First of all, I have to work through the Applications, which means concentrating on hands, then feet, then accents etc. When I've done that, and the hands and feet have a more secure idea of what they're doing, it's time to sharpen everything up and make sure I tie everything in together as accurately as I'm able so it all sounds clean. And when I've done that, at a tempo that's smooth and comfortable, I know I'm playing well. But at the same time, when I'm going through a phase where all my limbs seem to belong to different people and I'm not playing well, it's a safe place to go back to, where once again I can just fix one thing at a time. I never come away thinking I can't do any of it, even if I can't always do all of it.
I really can't speak too highly of this book. I'm just stuttering through it, for the most part, getting everything as good as I can right now, but every so often there's a lesson which fits me like a glove, and then I find I can make those exercises fly - and that's a great feeling. There's so much variety, so many challenges, and yet as I said right at the beginning, it's all doable, with perseverance.
In all honesty I think it will be a while before the creativity aspect filters down into my "real" drumming, but this has always been my greatest weakness, and given that I'm quite content to fix one thing at a time, I'm very happy with the way I've improved to date.
So thank you very much for having gone to the trouble of writing "Phrasing". It's the single most useful book I own, out of a reasonably well-stocked library. It manages to tap into both my strengths and weaknesses at the same time, which in my opinion is no mean feat. You must be one hell of a teacher!
Very best wishes