Here’s a Timing/Coordination Groove Exercise I like to do.
The bass drum plays a “Bo Diddley pattern.”
The left hand plays the 2 + 4 backbeat.
The right hand moves through all the 16th note variations of a 4 note grouping on the Hi-Hat, e.g.:
X… = Quarter Note (ONE e and a)
.X.. = 2nd 16th Note (one E and a)
..X. = the off beat (one e AND a)
…X = 4th 16th Note (one e and A)
2nd run through is BOTH hands in UNISON
This might be incredibly boring to watch (LOL), but it’s an exercise I’ve found tremendously helpful to develop coordination and good timing.
Wanted to share.
Here’s the last video of my short drum lesson on timing/coordination/subdivisons/rates. My playing is not as clean as I want it to be, … I’m still working on these drills and ideas, but that’s what practice is all about. I hope you find the information presented inspiring and useful. Aloha! – Beck
Here’s a cool exercise one of my teachers shared with me, a long time ago:
You play 14 different 16th note variations on the hi-hat, one per measure, while keeping a continually repeated pattern (ostinato) on the bass drum and snare.
The bass drum syncopation includes a note on the “a” and “&” of the beat one and two, which makes it more challenging, coordination wise.
If you struggle with the independence between bass drum and hi-hat, try to play the variations over a four on the floor beat (quarter notes on the bass drum) first, and work your way up from there.
Focus on clarity, consistency, and groove. Make sure all the notes land in the right place.
Practice to an 8th or 16th note metronome, to identify where there’s a tendency to push or drag.
Practice each measure individually before putting them all together in a loop.
For a lot of people this is a hard exercise — it definitely is for me.
Its benefits are many: improved timing, coordination, and being able to stay in the pocket while transitioning between different variations, are just a few that come to mind spontaneously.
Remember: Slow, steady, and relaxed wins the race!
Aspiring drummers and drum set instructors!
I updated my instructional drumming PDF “Kick Start” (40 pages).
It covers basic reading skills and coordination exercises, and helps the beginning drummer to master her first beats, fills, and gain confidence on the drum kit.
I’ve used it successfully in my teaching practice for almost two years now.
You can work through the material by yourself, but I highly recommend getting a teacher, who can help you understand the basics and fill in the blanks.
You can download it for $9.99 when you click the link below.