Here is a warm-up lesson in 4/4 that focuses on the transitions between quarter-note subdivisions ranging from four to eight notes. Ex. 1 is all about the timing.

The idea of switching between subdivision rates may seem easy at first, but it’s actually a challenge to make those transitions sound smooth and natural while playing them in an even flow. This warmup gives you a way to practice such transitions.

Each subdivision rate requires different sticking, which adds to the challenge of playing this warmup. If you find yourself struggling with the written sticking, then begin each subdivision rate by playing a single-stroke sticking at first.

The first line, at a rate of four notes per quarter-note, is based on a paradiddle sticking. From there you’re switching into quintuplets with a kind of a quintuplet-paradiddle. For the pattern in six you’ll find a double paradiddle.

The sticking in seven can be felt in three and four, or four and three. You can split the sticking if it’s easier to play through it. For the thirty-second-notes you’ll find a regular triple paradiddle.

Once you are comfortable playing all of the subdivision rates with the written sticking, the next step is to play them all together as one warmup exercise. Of course, you can practice each row by itself or combine only two or three of them in a row before you go through all of them.

Start slowly! The thirty-second-notes define the fastest tempo at which you can play this warmup. Make sure you can transition into the new tempo of the new subdivision rate without struggling with it.

Anika Nilles developed her chops through lessons with Claus Hessler, Udo Dahmen, and Jost Nickel, and further refined her musicianship while earning a degree in Pop Music Design from the University of Popular Music and Music Business in Mannheim, Germany.