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BY ANIKA NILLES | FROM THE SUMMER 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM!

It’s often the case that a weaker right or left hand doesn’t let us dive deeper into speed, control, or feel. This lesson, based on a shuffle feel, goes through an effective pad workout for developing independence in both hands. 

The first exercise is pretty simple. Your right hand leads the shuffle the whole time, while your left hand is moving all possible accents (Ex. 1). Once you try this, you’ll realize which measures are pretty easy and which are more uncomfortable. For more variation, play the same exercises with the left hand leading the shuffle while your right hand is moving the accents.

Ex. 2 has some rhythmical melodies over the shuffle feel. Follow the same concept as Ex. 1, leading the shuffle with the right hand first and playing the melody with the left over it.


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To dive deeper into this kind of warm-up, repeat Ex. 2 but choose one or two notes of the rhythmical melody and play them as an accent stroke while playing the other notes of the melody as ghost notes.

Try this for 20 minutes a day and you’ll see a huge step forward, with both hands’ skill levels more aligned when it comes to feel, control, and independence.

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.