Leaving Space Grooves

In the age of flashy YouTube and Instagram drumming stars it’s easy to forget that it’s surprisingly hard to play slow beats with lots of space between the notes.

It makes sense to me: The more notes you pack into a beat, the easier it is to get away with sloppy placement or bad timing. Especially to the untrained ear.

Here’s a simple, yet challenging exercise I like to practice:

I play through all rate variations on the hi-hat while maintaining a simple beat between bass drum and snare drum. Note, there is no “One” on the bass drum, which really forces you to feel the rhythm internally, rather than relying on coming down hard on the downbeat with your right foot.

In the video I play each beat twice, before moving on to the next one.

Background music: So Cold (featD’Angelo on Rhodes)  by Don-E & Azure

You can download the sheet music HERE.

Common – Like Water for Chocolate

I can’t believe this record is almost twenty years old.

It’s packed with great beats by Questlove and others. The track “Heat” samples Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s one-time fellow band member and co-founder of the Afrobeat genre.

Here are some beats from the record. – Beck

Download the free pdfs HERE.

Time Feel Exercise

This is great exercise to deepen your pulse and improve timing on the drums. I start playing a beat at the downbeat, then move it to the “e” of the beat, then the “+” and the “a.” I’m basically moving through the 16th note grid, using each 16th note as a new starting point.