As a drum teacher I’ve noticed that one of the most difficult things for beginner drummers is to switch rates, e.g., to go from triplets to 16th notes, and moving between different 16th note variations.
This short exercise is designed so you can play along with me (or the click only), get comfortable with counting, and develop confidence in switching beats while keeping the tempo.
Try to keep a steady quarter note pulse on the bass drum during the exercise.
If you’re wondering about the sticking of some of the variations, you can find them in my PDF Kick Start.
Ps.: I posted both play-alongs in the educational section on my website.
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!
For a limited time only you can get my Kindle ebook Play As You Are for $2.99!
Here’s a short interview by takelessons.com, where we touch on the book.
As always, I remain deeply grateful for your support.
Wishing you all a very happy new year…
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.
When you learn a new lick or combination, make sure you can play it in different rates, e.g., 8th notes, triplets, and 16th notes.