Practice Pad LessonsThis warmup is about accenting sixteenth-notes in seven with a quarter-note pulse. The feeling here is more 4/4 based, but using specific groupings as accent notes often feels a bit tricky due to a steady movement of the accents based on the subdivision.

This exercise includes groups of three, four, five, and six over seven. I’ve prepared a specific sticking for each group of notes, but you can use a single stroke sticking to start out.

Start with Ex. 1, placing accents on the downbeats. Then move on to Ex. 2, making sure you feel the placement of the accents in groupings of three. Do the same for Exs. 3–7, keeping the feel of the accent placements of four, five, six, five, and five, respectively.


For an added challenge, alternate between Exs. 1 and 2 for a few minutes. Do the same between Ex. 1 and Ex. 3, and Ex. 1 and Ex. 4. Then start with Ex. 1 and go through Exs. 1–4 without alternating or stopping.

After you’re comfortable playing each exercise a couple times through, try playing them all in a row. Keep the sticking as you practiced it, making sure to internalize the sticking switches.

I recommend using a metronome and starting with a tempo of 50 bpm. If you’re having some trouble holding the time in the subdivisions of seven, try programming your metronome to have all seven notes playing along with you.

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.