Lessons

Billy Martin: Clap Happy

This very simple exercise for hand-foot coordination promotes healthy polyrhythmic groove. Put those sticks down and just clap your hands and stomp those feet. It’s a three-way combination you can have fun with by changing up the parts as you play. Initially, you play everything three times. Clapping parts: Ex. 1 — three times. Then move to Ex. 2 — three times while the feet do their thing: Ex. 3 — three times into Ex. 4 — three times then Ex. 5 — three times into Ex. 6 — three times. After you master this initial progression, improvise the repeating amount and the form in the moment.

Use a three-tempo approach, slow-medium-fast. First, starting at a medium tempo for a few minutes or more. Stop. Then try it very slow — your slowest possible tempo. Notice how an extreme tempo difference can change the whole feel. Stop. Then play as fast as you can but with a musical expression. Have fun, stay healthy, and don’t forget to breathe!

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