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Hey, Popmusic:

Hope this helps ... here goes ...

You need to break this thing down so that your brain can absorb which limbs hit at the same time and where they don't.

Slow the tempo down to a ridiculous exageratedly slow speed. Identify where the kick and hihat hit together and where the snare and hihat hit together. It may help to write this out and draw lines between the identical hitting parts. As you watch this, your brain will start to understand when to hit things together, and when not to.

This can be frustrating. I remember my first experience with the Jim Chapin independence book! DROVE ME CRAZY!


As you start to get it real slow, start to pick the speed up. If you cross the line and start to flub up, back the tempo back down and start again. Eventually, you will be groovin!


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I've had a lot of students over the years with similar problems. Here's several ways that I've used to help to "cut the invisible string" between the right foot and the right hand.


The following exercises assume that you are placing the right hand on the hi-hat.


1) Forget about the left hand (snare) and play just the hi-hat and kick drum until you get that happening.


2)Sing or count quarter notes (1 2 3 4) but don't play the hi-hat. While you are counting, play the kick drum pattern you are having trouble with.


3) Play quarter notes on the hi-hat and sing (don't play) the kick drum part. If you can't sing it, you can't play it. You have to have it in your head FIRST before your brain can tell your limbs what to do.


4) Practice VERY slow and methodically; perhaps 40 bpm (beats per minute) until you feel the control between the right foot and hand. Increase your speed ever so slightly (ie. 44 bpm) and play the groove again. Keep progressing to faster tempos ONLY after you can play the beat slowly. It's much hard to play slow that it is fast because it requires more control of your limbs.


5) Play the hi-hat and snare drum backbeats with your hands while you count or sing the kick drum pattern; don't play the kick drum.


6) Create different ways to break apart the limbs and practice each part individually until it becomes comfortable. Add one limb at a time and practice that until if feels comfortable. Eventually you will be playing with all four limbs (four-way coordination) AND singing or counting a 5th part.


7) Be patient, relax, breath, practice slowly and use a metronome. Only add parts, limbs and increase tempos once you feel comfortable and can play the basic grooves broken down. You will only cheat yourself if you can play a particular groove fast but not slow. Gain the control and you will really OWN that groove!


There are a lot of other methods and approaches to this task, but these are some that have worked with a lot of my former beginning students. You can always throw the right hand on the snare, left hand on hi-hat for a nice challenge; even set you kit up left handed so you play the kick drum with the left foot. Even though you may never play "live" this way, it will make the "normal" groove placements easier because you can do so much more.


Good Luck!





Bart Elliott


Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Hey popmusic,

In all seriousness I've found your problem.You are thinking too much!It is a good idea to initially break the parts down and add parts as you build your dexterity,however if you think about what you're doing too much you've already screwed up.The body simply won't respond in sequence to your thought process.It's more of a "feeling it" than a "thinking it".Does a song not inspire us to clap our hands or to dance or even to bang your head?Utilize that internal groove mechanism and just roll with it.If you simply try too feel the connection between the other band members and yourself and not think about what's gonna happen next you'll find yourself groovin' in no time.

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And the beautiful thing about it is- IT NEVER STOPS. Just when I think I'm getting the hang of this drumming thing-I find a pattern someplace that just KILLS me. As much as I like to think it could end, it doesn't. And something I think I have nailed, if I don't use it, I lose it.
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