The best way to learn any style of music is by attentive listening. It’s also possible to get hints from patterns and stickings. Here are some ways to interpret Brazilian-music subdivisions.
It’s best to think of Brazilian beats in two counts, with the underlying accent on the second beat. Ex. 1 uses a RLRL sticking, but this gives no feeling to the rhythm without some effort. However, Ex. 2 begins to suggest a samba right away. Play Exs. 2—7 on a closed hi-hat as written, and then play Exs. 2, 7, and 8 with the bass drum doubling the right hand in unison (keep the feel in the right foot the same as in the right hand). Experiment with the subdivisions, and compare your results with recordings of great Brazilian drummers.
Peter Erskine has played with Weather Report, Steps Ahead, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and holds an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee College Of Music. http://petererskine.com