BY “TIGER” BILL MELIGARI
In this, the fourth and final lesson in our Cross-Wiring Workout series, we reverse the hand and foot patterns that we practiced in Part 3. This will complete our cross-wiring skill set. If you missed any of the previous lessons, I suggest you click the links that follow and work on those before proceeding to this one.
Add the variations of this 24-bar exercise, that you’ll find under “Extra Study” in the music notation, to your workouts. They will greatly increase your cross-wiring chops. In addition to those, the following drills will help you increase your skills in three critical areas of drumming:
Endurance: The key to increasing endurance is to practice long continuous patterns at slower tempos, non-stop, for extended periods of time. Start by setting your metronome at a tempo 20–30 bpm slower than the fastest tempo at which you can comfortably play the 24-bar pattern without tension. Your first goal will be to repeat the 24-bar pattern for five minutes without stopping. Once you can do that without getting tense, slowly increase the time up to whatever your final goal might be. I generally recommend about 15 minutes. Once you’ve met your maximum time goal, the final step will be to gradually increase your metronome tempo. Looping the 24-bar pattern like this will greatly improve your hand and foot endurance.
Speed: The key to increasing your speed is to practice short patterns at faster tempos, pausing briefly after each one. Start by setting your metronome to a tempo that’s about five bpm slower than the maximum speed at which you can execute any 2-bar phrase in this 24-bar pattern. Note that there are 12 2-bar phrases that make up the 24-bar pattern. Play each 2-bar phrase once, pausing for a few seconds after each one. If you practice this routine daily, your speed will gradually increase. As always, make sure you are playing each pattern without tension.
Cross-Wiring Coordination: To increase your coordination, break the 24-bar pattern into 24 separate 1-bar phrases that you will loop. Once you can repeat each separate bar in your sleep, meaning they have become part of your muscle memory, play the entire 24-bar pattern from beginning to end without stopping. Start at a slow, comfortable tempo and increase the metronome speed regularly until you reach your desired goal.
If you made it through all of the variations in all four-parts of this series, congratulations! If not, I suggest you regularly add any of the variations you may have missed into your daily drumming workout. Continually adding new exercises to your workouts not only improve your skill, but prevent you from getting bored.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!