Posts tagged stick control
Hands vs. Feet (Coordination Workout)
hands vs feet by ross farley.png

Since becoming the proud owner of an Apple Pencil I've taken to sketching out worksheets before I type them up in my music writing software. So this is one of those sketches — forgive the scruffiness!

These exercises are a great coordination workout and should be fairly self-explanatory. Here's a quick explanation of how to practice them...

  1. Pick a foot pattern.

  2. Before you add the hands, play the foot pattern, counting the rhythm (1 + 2 + etc) as you do so. It's important that you understand how the foot pattern sounds before advancing to the next step.

  3. Pick a hand pattern from the stickings section, and decide which rate (8ths: 1 + 2 +, OR 16ths: 1 e + a 2 e + a etc) to play it at. Practice the sticking, counting as you do it.

  4. Now that you can play the hand and foot parts seperately, try putting them together. Counting is important here as it'll help you understand how the patterns intersect. If you get stuck try writing the patterns out, that'll help you visualise what you are playing.

If you manage to blast through the stickings I recommend grabbing a copy of Stick Control and working your way through that with the foot patterns.

Singles And Doubles

Single strokes and double strokes are the two main options we have when it comes to moving around the drum kit. Each hand plays either once or twice. 

Three or four strokes per hand is definitely possible (as well as useful) but not as important. So for now we are going to focus on singles and doubles. Plus, once you have nailed doubles, playing triples becomes a lot easier!

There are a ton of exercises you could use to get better at playing double strokes but the exercises below are some of my favourites. They are also straight forward to play and easy to remember.

The “A” column contains the right handed exercises and “B” the left — don't neglect starting with your left hand! In each exercise the doubles start one 16th note (or semi-quaver if you prefer) earlier. Play each pattern individually at first and once you've got the hang of that try moving between the exercises. For example, play ‘1a’ four times, then ‘2a’ four times and then ‘3a’ etc. 

As I said, pretty straight forward!

PDF download: Singles And Doubles

Practice Pad Workout: Fives

A few quintuplet stickings (five notes per beat) that I've been playing around with on my practice pad for the last few weeks. 

Try playing the exercises with an accent on the beat as well as without. Both will be useful once played on the kit. 

As always, I recommend practicing to a metronome — beware, if you haven't played quintuplets before they will sound strange at first!

To develop the exercises further try playing them around the kit or try reinterpreting them as 16th notes.

Enjoy!

Accented Paradiddles

Accented Paradiddles are some of my favourite exercises to play for improving stick control and technique. The paradiddle is a versatile rudiment that has many applications on the kit. Having the technique to accent the different notes that make up the paradiddle will give you the ability to play a ton of cool grooves, fills and a world of options when it comes to soloing. That makes them well worth practicing!

  1. To start off, practice exercises i-iv on a pad or snare at a slow tempo to a metronome. 

  2. Once you can play i-iv comfortably, try moving the accented notes around the toms whilst keeping the unaccented notes on the snare at a low volume.

  3. Next, try switching between the different patterns. For example, play exercise ‘i’ four times before moving straight to ‘ii’ without stopping, then to ‘iii’ etc. This a great way to become more familiar with each pattern. It also involves a bit of mental gymnastics to make sure your sticks are in the right position for each stroke!

  4. 1A - 4C involve different combinations of i-iv. In 1A-C beat 1 changes, in 2A-C, beat 2 changes, etc — You get the idea! These are great exercises for the pad and kit. Once mastered you can develop it further by combining the different exercises to form more complex phrases.

  5. Try applying these ideas to a different rudiment or sticking pattern, such as the reverse paradiddle (RRLR LLRL).

PDF download: Accented Paradiddles