The simplest way of trying these independence exercises is to just play a ‘walking’ pattern with your feet – kick on 1 and 3, hi-hat foot on 2 and 4. Once you can play different stickings and/or rhythms with the hands over this kick pattern, try playing the bossa nova/samba foot ostinato – K HKK HKK HKK etc. The rhythm is 1 2+3 4+. If you haven’t played a bossa or a samba before, start with these rhythms as it will help make you more comfortable playing the foot pattern.
Some books worth checking out on this concept include Creative Control and Creative Coordination by Thomas Lang and Extreme Interpedendence by Marco Minneman. Thomas and Marco are the masters of drumming independence along with Virgil Donati.
Other things I’ve been working on:
Improving my dynamics and ghost notes on the snare, especially while keeping 16th notes going with my right hand on hi-hat or ride. Having to keep the volume down to neighbours is a good incentive to work on this!
Working towards better improvisation at different tempos. Trading fours with myself (soloing for 4 bars then playing time for 4 bars), keeping the same sub-division i.e. 32nd notes, 16th note triplets, quintuplets, playing linear phrases only i.e. only one drum/cymbal at a time. Maintaining the same sub-division is actually pretty difficult as I have always placed an emphasis on rhythmic variation while soloing.
Nick Bukey fills (www.nickbukeydrums.com) – This guy has online fill lesson packages available to purchase along with free videos and PDFs which you can download. I’ve learned a bunch of the 32nd note and 16th note triplet linear fills that he has available on his site. The longer fills can be quite challenging!
Exercises from Instagram – Drummers like Sebastian Lanser, Anika Nilles and Elliot Hoffmann all post excercises which I like to try. As well as exercises, every now and again I’ll try and copy solo/fill/groove ideas from drummers on Instagram as well.
That’s it for now, stay tuned for some new drum videos coming very soon!
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