Developing Independence 3: Counting In Five

Libor Hadrava

In our last lesson, we added bass drum permutations of a three/sixteenth-note pattern to our established and well-known snare drum rudiments while counting in three sixteenth-notes – a logical progression from our first lesson. The bass drum permutations were in the same time signature as our counting pattern, so you didn’t have to absorb too much at once – just had to make sure that all permutations happened four times before moving on.

It’s time to step it up.

This time we’re going to count sixteenth-notes in groups of five on top of our snare drum patterns. We will also play bass drum permutations of a four/sixteenth-note pattern. Keep the bass drum on each beat four times before moving it over by sixteenth-note.

This approach is yet another step toward engaging our hearing and mind back into what we physically do. Our snare drum patterns should be controlled by muscle memory, and so should counting in five, by pronouncing each number. Try to process your counting in the back of your mind. It helps that all counting is done in the same sixteenth-note pulse as our snare drum patterns.

Now we have to figure out how to play four sixteenth-note bass drum permutations and keep track as we play each four times. The best way to approach this is to penetrate both of these layers of muscle memory by listening. Our snare drum patterns are purposely kept on snare drum, and now will help us. You can hear them as a flow of sixteenth-notes. Group them in your mind by four, and all permutations of the four/sixteenth-note pattern are just a little “ear training” step away. It will get easier after a while, because it’s based on listening it in this specific way.

You will notice that some snare drum patterns are in a four/sixteenth-note pattern. Please don’t match bass drum permutations to these patterns. My system is designed to work at all times regardless of the different patterns employed (whether they are snare drum, bass drum, or counting patterns). Remember, exercises have to be in relationship to time, “the master code,” not to each other.

Just like in our previous lessons you will notice certain notes line up with your counting or bass drum pattern. Please do not force them to line up. Do not accent any notes. All snare drum, bass drum, and counting patterns should be even in volume.

Snare Drum Sticking Patterns
RLRL*
LRLR
RRLL*
LLRR
RLRR LRLL*
RLRLRR LRLRLL*
RLRRLL*
LRLLRR
RRRRLLLL*
RRR LLL*

[*] = Patterns used in the video, but you should practice all of them regardless of how similar they seem to you.

Please spend a lot of time on these exercises. There are no shortcuts, only hard work. But the results are priceless and absolutely worth it. See you next time.

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