Posts in fills
Moving around the drums

These exercises make for a great warm up and are an excellent way of training your ears how different groups of notes sound when played around the drum kit.

As you’ll see from looking at the worksheet, each exercise has a repeating number pattern written beneath the notes. If the numbers go up to 3 that means you play three notes before switching drums, if they go up to 5 that would mean playing five notes before switching drums, if the count only goes up to 1, you only play one note on each drum.

You’ll see some of the exercises have “...” at the end of the count. This is to signify the number pattern has been cut short. You have two options if this is the case. 1) You can just go back to the beginning of the bar, ignoring the fact you are only part of the way through your number sequence or 2) you can keep your number sequence going, ignoring the fact the bar has ended.

Here are a few suggestions of how to practice the exercises: 

  • Play using single strokes, starting on the right hand if you are right handed and the left if you’re left handed

  • Practice to a metronome or with your left foot on the beat, counting the number sequence as you move around the drums (if the exercise is 3s, you’d count 1 2 3 1 2 3 etc). Alternatively try counting the subdivision — 1 e & a 2 e & a etc for semiquavers, 1 & a 2 & a etc for triplets

  • Initially, only move between two drums so you can clearly hear the number grouping. Then try moving either clockwise or anticlockwise around all of the drums. Once you can do this you can get a little more creative with how you move around the kit.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it! If you have any questions about the score, let me know in the comments.

Enjoy and good luck… 👉 download PDF

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Linear Phrases: Part 2

In Part 1 we looked at eight linear patterns. In this lesson, we are going to combine some of those patterns to build more interesting and original ideas. 

Each example consists of a base pattern and two different ways of playing it around the kit. The examples are just that, examples. So once you can play them get creative and try making your own and refer back to Part 1 for ideas. Just avoid ending patterns with two bass drums if you are going to use them as fills, as this will make it harder to go back into a groove.

As always, I recommend you practice to a metronome!

  1. Loop each exercise until you can play it consistently.

  2. Try using it as a fill. e.g. Three bars groove, one bar fill etc.

  3. Repeat for each exercise

  4. Once you can play A-C try phrasing the pattern in other ways, change the sticking if you have to. (Sticking refers to which hand plays the note, phrasing refers to which voice — snare, high tom etc — we use.)

  5. Move on to the next example and use steps 1-4.

Example 1

Example 1 consists of patterns 1A, 6A, 5A and 4A from Part 1.

Example 2

Example 2 consists of patterns 7A, 5A, 1A and 3A from Part 1.

Example 3

Example 3 consists of patterns 5A, 3A, 7A, 1A from Part 1.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

PDF download: Linear Phrases: Part 2 - Examples

PS. If you’ve found this helpful and you’d like to support the creation of more drumming resources, leave a tip on Paypal.

Linear Phrases: Part 1

The word “Linear” refers to the fact that each note is played by itself — the hands and feet don't play at the same time. 

The lesson below introduces eight linear phrases (the ‘A’ patterns) and then puts them into 4/4 as 16th notes (the ‘B’ patterns). 

Make sure you practice the ‘B’ patterns to a metronome. This will help to train your ears (and brain) to hear how pattern relates to the beat.

  1. Start by looping the ‘A’ pattern, using the sticking written underneath the exercise. 1-4 have one bass drum at the end of the phrase, 5-8 have two bass drums. Playing two bass drums right next to each other is quite difficult, so take it slow and pay close attention to how you are playing each stroke. Regardless of tempo, they should sound the same!

  2. Once you can comfortably play ‘A’, move to the corresponding ‘B’ exercise using the same sticking. Beware that when you loop the ‘B’ exercises the ‘A’ pattern will cut short at the end.

  3. Once you can play the ‘B’ exercises try adding a left foot hi-hat on every beat (the beginning of each group of four 16th notes). Coordination-wise, this is pretty tough at first, so start slow!

  4. Now it's time to have a bit of fun! Try playing the ‘B’ exercises around the kit. Some ideas using ‘1B’ as an example:
    i) Play the first R L on the snare, the next R L on the high tom, the next on the low tom etc.
    ii) Move the R around the kit, leaving the L on the snare.
    iii) Combine the two ideas above. For the first R L use idea ‘i’, for the next R L idea ‘ii’ etc.
    iv) Reverse the sticking and try ideas a-c.

  5. Now try using the ‘B’ patterns you've practiced as fills. For example, three bars of groove with one bar of fill (the ‘B’ pattern). Do this with a metronome, you don't want to speed up during the fill!

  6. The next step is to try combining the ‘A’ patterns to make more complex phrases that we can use as fills or as solos. We look at this in Part 2.

PS. If you’ve found this helpful and you’d like to support the creation of more drumming resources, leave a tip on Paypal.