BY “TIGER” BILL MELIGARI
In addition to working on the variations of this 24-bar exercise found under “Extra Study” in the music notation, the following drills will help 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.
I suggest you track your progress by keeping a list of each exercise along with your metronome tempos in a notebook dedicated to your drumming workouts. You should have plenty to work on until Part 4, where we’ll conclude this series by flipping this workout on its head!
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!