Ah summertime—a great time of year to get those worn out chops back in shape. In this lesson we will take a few simple eighth-note patterns split between the snare and bass drums, and incrementally traverse through a rhythmic pyramid of eighth-notes, eighth-note triplets, sixteenth-notes, and sixteenth-note triplets (sextuplets). This will create interesting permutations of our initial pattern. This will also reveal if you are experiencing any physical or mental tension as you work your way from one rhythm to the next.

As we do through our daily and weekly practice routines, slugging it out from gig to gig, and taking in more and more information regarding everything drums, we can sometimes lose grasp of the basics. This month’s exercises are designed to act as re-calibration tools for your limbs, to re-focus your attention to note placement, balance of sound, limb independence, and even your balance on the throne.

Ex. 1 uses a three-note pattern. Remember to feel free to create your own examples. Also, if the hi-hat with the foot is tripping you up, simply delete the hi-hat until you have the bulk of the exercise under your belt.

Ex. 1

Ex. 2 uses alternating hand-to-hand sticking with the bass drum inserted in between each stroke.

Ex. 2

This also works well played with double stops in the hands (Ex. 3).

Ex. 3

I hope these exercises inspire you to get creative while also fine tuning your abilities on the drum set. Happy calibrating!

Lesson: Four-Note Grouping Manipulation (Limb Calibration 2)

Lesson: 8th to 16ths Tune Up (Limb Calibration 1)

Stewart Jean is Program Chair for Drums at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.